The host Russians survived the qualification round and will face a team very similar to the one they just defeated, but has better goaltending and more offensive potential.
FINLAND VS RUSSIA
7:30 AM EST
Here is how the teams match up:
Goaltending: The Russians have gone to Sergei Bobrovsky in their two most important games to date and that isn’t likely to change. He shut out the Norwegians on Tuesday in their first elimination game. Tuukka Rask has played a bulk of the games for the Finns, and despite a 4 goal game against Austria, he held Canada to 1 goal in regulation and 1 in overtime.
Defense: Olli Maatta has been great for the Finns and the 19 year old looks to be the leader of the next generation of Finnish defensemen. He is supported by veterans Kimmo Timonen and Sami Salo. Russia has leaned heavily on Andrei Markov and Slava Voynov throughout the tournament.
Forwards: The depth and offensive abilities of the Finns isn’t as prevalent as Russia, but they might play a better all-around game. Teemu Selanne and Olli Jokinen provide the veteran presence for a team that has been decimated by injuries up the middle. Russia needs to get more from Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, as Igor Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk have carried most of the weight offensively.
PREDICTION: Russia hasn’t had the intensity against the lower ranked teams like they had on Saturday against the US. If they take Finland lightly, the Finns will jump up and bite them. Russia will have to work hard for every bit of offense, and goals will be tough to come by. This could be Finland in an upset.