Finland wins bronze over U.S. in men's hockey
Teemu Selanne scores twice in final Olympic game of his career
It was over in a flash. A Finnish Flash. For Team USA, however, it was more like a flash finish.
Team Finland scored two goals in 11 seconds early in the second period to snap a 0-0 tie en route to a 5-0 victory in the bronze medal game Saturday.
Veteran Teemu Selanne, playing in his 35th Olympic hockey game, scored two goals including the game-winner to lead Finland. It was a wonderful conclusion to what has been a splendid Olympic hockey career for a classy gentleman.
"It was a dream to play with him," said Mikael Granlund of Selanne. "He had an unbelievable tournament. He's such a great player and a great person. I can't even explain that. He has so much respect from everybody."
Selanne scored on a nifty backhand shot at 1:27 of the second period and then off the ensuing faceoff, the Finns charged into the American zone with Jussi Jokinen, notching his second goal of the Olympic tournament. That was the game.
The United States generated very few quality scoring chances in the game as the Finns appeared to have a tad more interest in the outcome of the game.
The Finns added three third-period goals to ensure the victory.
The 43-year-old Selanne retires from the Olympic Games with 24 goals and 47 points in 43 games having, helped his country win bronze medals in 1998, 2010 and 2014 to go with a silver medal in 2006.
While he didn't play in the 1994 Games (NHL players weren't involved), Selanne did play in the 1992 Olympics prior to joining the Winnipeg Jets. He was among the leading scorers in that tournament with seven goals and 11 points.
Rask returns: Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask returned to the crease after missing the semifinal with the flu. Kari Lehtonen filled in during the 2-1 loss to rival Sweden and was a healthy scratch for the bronze medal game. Antti Niemi served as backup for the bronze medal game.
Penalty shot 1: Just when you think you’ve seen it all. Finnish defenceman Kimmo Timonen batted a dropped stick out of the way, but in doing so knocked the puck off the stick of America’s Ryan Kesler. Play was halted immediately and the United States was awarded a penalty shot.
Patrick Kane, who was on the ice at the time of the incident, took the shot, but his attempted backhander was turned away by Rask.
Penalty shot 2: Kane was awarded a second penalty shot in the second period when he was slashed by Finland’s Leo Komarov while on a breakaway. This time he drilled a wrist shot off the post after beating Rask.
Big bang theory: If the United States thought the bronze medal game was going to be a 60- minute walk in the park, the Finns had other ideas. Right from the start, Team Finland came out banging.
Leading the way in the physical department was Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes and former Toronto Maple Leafs winger Komarov, who now plays in the KHL. Komarov delivered the fifth highest number of hits (176) when he played in the NHL in 2012-13.
Captain, my captain: Lots has been made about Sidney Crosby’s struggles offensively for Team Canada. Crosby has just two assists in five games. The same can be said for Team USA captain Zach Parise, who finished the Olympics with just one goal in six games.
The hangover effect: Team USA captain Zach Parise said the devastating loss to Canada in the semi-final took a toll on the Americans.
“It was pretty demoralizing,” Parise said. “We had to turn around and realize there actually was a bronze medal on the line which is still a pretty big deal. But those two efforts were just not acceptable at this point.”