Olympic Hockey Preview: Finland vs Norway


After a solid showing against Canada, the underdog Norwegians look to possibly pull an upset as they face the Finns, who had an uneven game against Austria but came away with the win nonetheless by a score of 8-4.


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Here is how the teams match up:

Finland celebrates an opening game win over Austria PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today Sports

GOALTENDING:  Expected to be the strength of the Finnish sqaud, Tuukka Rask allowed 4 goals on 2o shots and will most likely get to rest up in this one for the anticipated showdown on Sunday with Canada, meaning one of Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen will likely get the call.  For Norway, Lars Haugen played well against Canada on Thursday and it would be a smart move for the Norwegian coach to go back to him, since they don’t exactly have the depth of some of the stronger teams.


DEFENSEFinland allowed just 20 shots to Austria, and with Norway playing a kitty-bar-the-door style they shouldn’t be overly tested.  Norway might as well play with 5 defensemen on the ice the way they collapsed around their net.  It wasn’t pretty, but was pretty effective in holding a powerhouse like Canada to 3 goals.  Don’t expect that style to change.


FORWARDS:  Mikael Granlund and Jarkko Imonen each scored twice for Finland in the opener.  Questionable is veteran Teemu Selanne, who missed most of the Austria game with an upper body injury.  There were no real standout performances up front for Norway, except Mats Zuccarello who seemed to be on the ice all the time during the loss to Canada.


I don’t know if anyone expected Finland to play the type of game they did in the opener.  They were expected to be solid defensively and maybe struggle to score goals, but they are the highest scoring team through one game.

PREDICTION:  They won’t get 8 again, but won’t give up 4 either.  Finland 3-1.