In a game where goals were hard to come by, defenseman Drew Doughty found the back of the net twice for Canada, including the overtime game-winner. The Canadians clinched the top spot in Group B and earned the No. 3 overall seed with a 2-1 win over Finland in what was a tight-checking, slow-paced game.
Finland was content to sit back and do all they could to slow down Canada's attack that includes many of the game's best forwards. The strategy was a success as the defense and netminder Tuukka Rask held Canada at bay for much of the contest.
Doughty struck midway through the first period with a power-play marker. The LA Kings rearguard set himself up in the left faceoff circle and wired a perfect wrist shot over Rask's right shoulder and just underneath the bar.
From then on, the game was a bit sluggish with Finland collapsing to the middle in their own end, forcing Canada to work for every inch they got in the Finnish zone.
A late second-period goal off a between-the-legs tip by Tuomo Ruutu past Carey Price tied up the game and that's the way it stayed through a slightly more open third period.
In overtime Finland's best chance came off a point shot from Sami Salo that Price just got with his blocker. Shortly after, Canada rushed up the ice with Jeff Carter finding Kings teammate Doughty on the left side.
Doughty's shot just snuck under Rask, between his legs and over the line to give Canada the win.
This now sets up Canada to play the winner of the qualification round game between Latvia and Switzerland. Meanwhile, the Finns will take on the winners of Russia-Norway.
With Canada and Finland finishing in overtime and only earning two points, Sweden was the only team to finish with a perfect record, with all three wins coming in regulation. The Swedes have the top spot, while the U.S. is second overall.
Now we get to the elimination stage of the tournament and that's where the fun (and nerves) really gets going.
Finland 1, Canada 2 -- Final OT
2:17 p.m. -- GOAL CANADA Drew Doughty sneaks one through Tuukka Rask and Canada wins 2-1. A bit of a soft one for the Finnish netminder to give up. Canada wins Group B and is the No. 3 overall seed in the medal round. Finland is fourth.
2:16 p.m. -- Jamie Benn gets ridden hard into the boards by Lasse Kukkonen, but there's no penalty.
2:15 p.m. -- Carey Price comes up with a huge blocker save early in OT. Sami Salo took the shot from above the circles.
2:14 p.m. -- Overtime is underway.
2:12 p.m. -- The winner of this game, will finish third overall heading into the medal round. Sweden and United States first and second, respectively. The loser of Canada-Finland finishes fourth in the overall seeding.
2:09 p.m. -- Regulation over and we're still tied. This one's going to a five-minute, four-on-four overtime.
2:07 p.m. -- Less than a minute to play in regulation. Canada gets an incredible chance as Marc-Edouard Vlasic was all alone for a shot, but he missed the net.
2:06 p.m. -- Jamie Benn gets away with one after cross-checking Tuomo Ruutu. Dangerous play. No penalty.
2:04 p.m. -- There have only been two penalties this entire game and they both came in the first period. Amazing what happens when the game gets slowed down like this. Just over two minutes to play in regulation.
2:02 p.m. -- Under four minutes to play. Reminder: If this game goes to OT, Team USA will take the No. 2 overall seed into the medal round.
2 p.m. -- Canada gets some sustained pressure, highlighted by a Jeff Carter shot from the slot, but it went wide. Finland remains tough in their own end.
1:57 p.m. -- With Canada's offensive woes in this game, some are probably hoping this actually happens.
(glass shatters) GOOD GAWD THAT'S CLAUDE GIROUX'S MUSIC— Patrick Burke (@BurkieYCP) February 16, 2014
1:55 p.m. -- Canada's best chance of the period comes on a rush as Jonathan Toews picks up a loose puck and fires a shot on net. Rask made the save after getting squared up to the shot. Well played by the Finnish netminder.
1:53 p.m. -- John Tavares' wraparound attempt is stuffed by Rask. Canada hasn't generated much of anything in the third, but they lead on the shot counter 2-1, only 32 shots between the two teams at this point in the game.
1:51 p.m. -- The Finns clearly doing more to generate offense off the rush, but they remain focused on clogging the defensive zone. Looks like they've found the balance they had been missing earlier in the game.
1:49 p.m. -- Anyone see Sidney Crosby lately? Finland doing a good job of keeping Canada's captain at bay. Hasn't been much of a factor despite an assist on the first goal.
1:45 p.m. -- Finland defensive zone play remains a highlight. All five skaters engaged. Finland looking like they're trying to open things up a bit more in the third, however. Could see a few more chances on both sides as a result.
1:42 p.m. -- Back underway in the third period. Mikael Granlund had a good chance right away, but Price made the nice pad save. An exciting 20 minutes ahead.
1:40 p.m. -- Second intermission entertainment. Some of the fans at these hockey games in Sochi are on the colorful side.
Somebody should probably let these guys know it's February pic.twitter.com/FTVTbuXjgP— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 16, 2014
1:32 p.m. -- Second Period Recap:
After 40 minutes, this game is going exactly how Finland must have drawn it up. The game is not an open contest, instead a tight, defensive matchup as the Finns are protecting first and foremost and it's working to help negate some of the outstanding offensive talent Canada has. Finland isn't generating many chances whatsoever but they aren't giving up a ton either. Canada outshot Finland 9-4 in the second period and did have a few threatening looks but again, it's going pretty close to script for the Finns. Finland is playing a bit with fire by spending as much time as they are chasing in the defensive zone but especially with depleted center depth, they are playing how they need to. After the tying goal they clearly had a jump -- to be fair, so did Canada -- setting up a great third period. -- Brian Stubits
1:27 p.m. -- The second period ends with Finland showing some energy. Now with everything tied up, we're in for a very interesting third period.
1:25 p.m. -- Finns showing more life now as they nearly caught Canada in an odd-man break, but great recovery from Canada thwarted a shot.
1:24 p.m. -- GOAL FINLAND Tuomo Ruutu tips one past Price and a rare Finnish shot ties this game up. Heck of a tip between the legs and it's a new game.
1:17 p.m. -- A little more creativity from Canada helps lead to a few more shots, with Rick Nash getting a good chance on a turnaround shot from out wide, but Finland still preventing a lot down the middle. The Finns may need to start taking some chances now, though. They just haven't generated much of anything.
1:12 p.m. -- This is exactly the type of game Finland wants to play. They're a team that can lull opponents to sleep and capitalize on mistakes. They're so disciplined in their own end and as long as they can keep the game close, they have a chance to get a good result. They're hanging around and won't play desperate until they absolutely have to.
1:09 p.m. -- Well, the good news is, there are more shots this period. The bad news, it's only two since our last update. One for each team.
1:04 p.m. -- Only one shot between the two teams after more than six minutes of game action in the second.. Finland not letting a lot of pucks through to their net and doing whatever it can to slow Canada's offense down. Not leading to a very offense-friendly game.
12:59 p.m. -- Finland showed soem signs of offensive life with a nice rush ending in a shot by Kukkonen, but Price made the easy save.
12:57 p.m. -- Tense moment early for Finland as a bouncing shot from Patrick Marleau fooled Rask, forcing him to make a stretching toe save.
12:56 p.m. -- Second period is underway, Canada quickly kills the penalty to Nash and they're back at even strength.
12:52 p.m. -- Don Cherry, everybody.
Different hat, same old Don. pic.twitter.com/LmeuS9En7J— Josh Gold-Smith (@GoldAndOrSmith) February 16, 2014
12:45 p.m. -- First Period Recap:
After the opening shift of the game in which Finland was able to get some sustained pressure, the first period was pretty much controlled by Canada. They obviously scored the one goal from the scorching hot Drew Doughty but they had a few more fantastic opportunities. The shots were even in the period 8-8 but it didn't feel that way as Finland had very little time in the Canadian zone and when they did, there were few great looks at net. Finland is a patient, defensive team but there have been few chances to get any kind of counterattack. Canada will look to keep the pressure on in the second and keep the Finns and Tuukka Rask on their heels. -- Brian Stubits
12:40 p.m. -- Period over. Canada has a 1-0 lead over Finland. The shots read 8-8, but it sure seems like Canada's had the puck an awful lot more than the Finns.
12:39 p.m. -- Mikael Granlund had a puck bounce on him while right at the right post for Finland's best look of the game. No shot, though.
12:37 p.m. -- Rick Nash's stick catches Olli Maatta in the face and he's whistled for high sticking. Finland gets their first power play, but Maatta headed to the dressing room.
12:33 p.m. -- Jonathan Toews' diving wraparound attempt gets swallowed up by Tuukka Rask just barely. They're going to take a look on review just to be sure it didn't go in, but there doesn't seem to be enough to overturn the initial call. UPDATE: No goal, as expected.
12:30 p.m. -- Tuukka Rask makes up for the goal right away by robbing Chris Kunitz from the high slot. Rask flashed the glove as Kunitz was all by himself after a nice pass from Patrick Sharp. Huge save.
12:27 p.m. -- GOAL CANADA Drew Doughty snipes one on the power play from the left faceoff dot. Tuukka Rask looked square to it, but Doughty found the upper-left corner of the net. 1-0 Canada. Assists go to Sidney Crosby and Shea Weber.
12:26 p.m. -- Finland captain Teemu Selanne challenges Canadian captain Sidney Crosby to stay on his feet after Crosby draws a penalty. Crosby didn't seem too pleased about it. Shocker. Canada to the power play.
12:25 p.m. -- Canada holds just a 5-4 shot advantage early, but it sure seems like more. Canada definitely generating a lot more in the offensive zone than their counterparts. Not terribly surprising that the Finns want to focus on defense first, but they may be playing too passively at this point.
12:18 p.m. -- Patrice Bergeron appears to be in discomfort on the Canadian bench. He received some attention from medical staff earlier, but still doesn't look quite right. Something to monitor going forward. He was hit by a Shea Weber slap shot.
12:15 p.m. -- NO GOAL CANADA. After review the goal is disallowed as the referees considered it a high stick. Very weird play, though. Though Nash never touched the puck when he slapped the top of the netting to dislodge it, his action propelled the puck into the net. On goals, the stick cannot be above the cross bar, as Nash's was. It's a strange situation, but in the end, the right call. Here's another look at it via Pete Blackburn.
12:13 p.m. -- The puck stalls on top of the net, but Rick Nash slaps the top of the netting to dislodge the puck and it bounces off of Rask in in. Goal is under review though. Could it be considered a high stick?
12:12 p.m. -- Action a lot more back and forth at this time with both teams struggling to get shots on net. Both teams doing a good job of collapsing to the middle in their own zone and forcing bad shots.
12:08 p.m. -- Canada all over the puck to start the game and dominating posession, but Finland gets a really good chance with Teemu Selanne's tip going just wide on Carey Price.
12:05 p.m. -- The puck is dropped. Let's play hockey.
12:02 p.m. -- Before we get started, a little perspective on the Olympic history between these two teams from hockey historian Joe Pelletier.
Throw out the 1952 13-3 win for Canada, in 9 career Olympic games vs Finland Canada has scored 25 goals. Finland has scored 25 goals.— HockeyLegends (@HockeyLegends) February 16, 2014
11:59 a.m. -- The fans in Sochi are ready. Puck drop just minutes away.
These guys are fired up. pic.twitter.com/XUJJxnYvGA— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) February 16, 2014
11:53 a.m. -- Tuukka Rask gets the start for Finland in net with Antti Niemi backing up. Will be interesting to see how Canada's new-look forward lineup does against a Finland squad that typically plays solid team D and has a world-class goalie between the pipes. Should be a good one.
11:35 a.m. -- Here's today's lineup for Canada:
Jamie Benn - Sidney Crosby - Patrice Bergeron
Matt Duchene - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Patrick Marleau - Jonathan Toews - Jeff Carter
Chris Kunitz - John Tavares - Rick Nash
Duncan Keith - Shea Weber
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Drew Doughty
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Scratched: Martin St. Louis, P.K. Subban, Mike Smith
10:52 a.m. -- The roof at Bolshoy Ice Dome is ready for the night's big game.
Can-Fin pic.twitter.com/JhnO1mXzGl— Jarmo Kekalainen (@jkekalainen) February 16, 2014
8:20 a.m. -- Similar to how it was in Vancouve (and remember how that ended), the Canadians seem to be doing what they can to get Sidney Crosby going. On Sunday they will put him on a line with arguably Canada's two most productive forwards in the first two games.
6:16 a.m. -- Lineup changes again for Canada and as usual, that seems to be going over well. Still waiting for some real stability in the lines for Canada.
Kunitz plays w/o Crosby and Sharp w/o Toews and Norris Trophy winner and Art Ross Trophy winner are scratched and everyone's head explodes— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) February 16, 2014
By Andrew Dewitt
Who: Canada (2-0-0-0) vs. Finland (2-0-0-0)
What: Final game of the Olympics for both teams in Group B
When: 7:30 a.m. eastern Saturday on NBC Sports Network
Where: Shayba Arena, Sochi, Russia
Winner wins Group B and earns a bye into wednesday's quarterfinals
Eye on Canada
Three Key Players: Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Starting goalie
Quick Preview: It will be the first true test for Canada after two wins against Norway and Austria to start their Olympic schedule in Sochi. The Canadians need to find out what they really have against a team that presents a real challenge. A lot of people have questioned keeping Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Chris Kunitz with Sidney Crosby on a line after Kunitz has struggled through the first two games but coach Mike Babcock defended Kunitz and Crosby -- who has only one assist so far -- and will keep the pair together. Babcock hasn't announced who will start in goal after Roberto Luongo and Carey Price each started a game. Finland is an injury-filled team and Canada should be able to pick up a win and earn a bye into Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Eye on Finland
Three Key Players: Teemu Selanne, Mikael Granlund, Olli Maatta
Quick Preview: When looking at Finland before the NHL season started, the Fins were considered to be one of the favorites in Sochi with a loaded and experienced roster full of NHL players. But no team has suffered more injuries in the tournament than Finland. Top center Aleksander Barkov will miss the rest of the tournament after suffering a knee injury vs. Norway on Friday. Finland is also missing three of their top players in Saku Koivu, Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula who have all suffered injuries during the NHL season. Finland brings one of the top goalie duos in the Olympics with Tuuka Rask and Annti Niemi and expect for whichever goalie gets the start to be a big factor in the game. Pittsburgh Penguin rookie Olli Maatta leads Finland in scoring while age-less wonder Teemu Selanne is always worth watching.