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Preview: Finland, Canada to decide top spot in Group B

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 4:23 PM ET / News
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Preview: Finland, Canada to decide top spot in Group B

FINLAND vs. CANADA

When: Sunday, Noon ET (USA, CBC)

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome

What's at stake: The two best teams in Group B meet, with the winner guaranteed a bye into the quarterfinals. The loser could get a pass through to the final eight if it's the best of the three second-place finishers. Neither team had much trouble beating Austria and Norway in its first two games.

Each team has to make a decision about who will start in goal. Canada has surrendered one goal in two games and got a shutout from Roberto Luongo in a 6-0 win against Austria after Carey Price was in goal for a 3-1 win against Norway. Tuukka Rask had his struggles in Finland's 8-4 win against Austria; Kari Lehtonen was sharp in a 6-1 win against Norway, and Antti Niemi has yet to play.

Finland: The Finns haven't faced Canada in the Olympics since 2006, when they won 2-0 during group play on the way to the gold-medal game. This Canadian team has a lot more firepower, according to Finland captain Teemu Selanne.

"They have four All-Star lines so it's not going to be easy," he said. "We all know those guys. We play against them every day back home. It's going to be hard, but on the same hand it's going to be a challenge. We need a tough game now. It's a big ice surface so hopefully that's going to be an advantage for us."

Selanne became the oldest player in Olympic history to score when he had one of Finland's three first-period goals against Norway. The 43-year-old has 21 goals in 33 games during six Olympiads.

Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund said Friday he knows who will start in goal against Canada, but wouldn't tell the media. "I know who the goalie is going to be, but you don't," he said, smiling.

Canada: After an unimpressive victory against Norway, Canada looked every bit like a gold-medal contender blowing out undermanned Austria. Jeff Carter had a natural hat trick in a span of less than 10 minutes in the second period; Shea Weber, Drew Doughty and Ryan Getzlaf also scored.

Any questions about the Canadians' confidence following their win against the Norwegians have disappeared going into the showdown with the Finns.

"We're looking forward to the matchup against Finland," Doughty said. "Obviously they're going to be our toughest matchup yet. At the same time, no matter who we face we're going to have the same confidence and the same swagger. We're looking forward to it."

Forward Patrick Sharp and defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who sat out against Austria, will be back in the lineup against Finland. Canada officials haven't said who won't dress; coach Mike Babcock said he will meet with his goaltenders Saturday night to let them know who will start.

What's next: The winner can look forward to a couple of days off before the quarterfinals begin Wednesday. The loser could get a bye, depending on goal differential; Finland enters the game plus-9, Canada is plus-8.

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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
2 BOS 55 30 19 6 163 150 66
3 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
4 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
5 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
6 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
7 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
8 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 54 21 26 10 47
L. Eriksson 55 18 25 12 43
D. Krejci 45 13 29 5 42
B. Marchand 50 27 14 14 41
R. Spooner 55 11 28 -8 39
Z. Chara 53 8 22 12 30
J. Hayes 53 12 14 -6 26
M. Beleskey 53 8 18 11 26
T. Krug 54 3 21 1 24
B. Connolly 52 7 12 -4 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 20 16 5 .917 2.55
J. Gustavsson 10 3 1 .913 2.54
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