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Selanne, Finland Crushes USA 5-0 For Bronze

by Photo of Gil Santos

Teemu Selanne scores two goals and leads the Finns in a blowout win over USA.

Selanne, Finland Crushes USA 5-0 For Bronze

In his final Olympic game, 43-year-old Teemu Selanne (Anahiem Ducks), also known as the "Finnish Flash," ended his international career in style. The captain notched two goals for Finland en route to a blowout 5-0 win over Team USA for the bronze medal. It is not the color Selanne wanted for his final hurrah, but it is a well-deserved fourth medal for the ageless wonder. 

Selanne finishes tournament as the leading scorer for Finland with four goals in six games. Moreover, Selanne ends his Olympic career with 24 goals and 19 assists in six appearances. 

Despite losing their top four centers, Finland overcame those injuries with defensive discipline, great goaltending, a lot of heart, and a full-team effort. The Finns were the hardest working team by far and they defined teamwork. They found ways to score even with the lack of premier offensive talent that other teams had. If only they had their star goaltender, Tukka Rask (Boston Bruins), for the semifinals against Sweden yesterday, that game could have turned out differently.

However, Rask was healthy enough to play in the bronze medal game and was his usual self, stoning the Americans and stopping all 26 shots. 

On the other side, it was pathetic effort and a nightmare ending for Team USA, who will go home empty-handed after starting strong early in the tournament. After lighting up the scoreboard with 20 goals in the first four games, Team USA was held scoreless for its final 138 minutes. Last night's loss to Canada seemed to have taken the wind out of the U.S.'s sails. They could not muster up a solid effort to make the Olympic trip worthwhile. The defeat continues a streak of no medals on the big international ice since NHL players entered Olympic competition in 1998.  

American goalie Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings) had his worst game of the tournament statistically as he saved 24 of the 29 shots he faced, but did not receive any goal support once again from his teammates. 

Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) ended his disappointing tournament with his worst game of the Olympics. Kane had two chances to put his team on the board and score his first goal in Sochi with a pair penalty shots, but could not convert on either. Kane was clearly frustrated after the two failed chances and he took two inexcusable penalties during the American's collapse in the third period. 

Team USA started strong and displayed good effort in the first period. Ryan Kesler (Vancovuer Canucks) came up with a huge goal-saving block at the net during a mass scramble. The U.S. received their first opportunity to break the ice after Finland's defenseman Kimo Timonen (Philadelphia Flyers) shot a broken stick at the American puck carrier, which resulted in a penalty shot. Coach Dan Bylsma had to choose from the players on the ice during the penalty and he went with the usually reliable Kane. Kane tried his signature move, but was in too close to lift the puck over Rask's pad and shot it at the side of the net. 

Early in the second period, Finland scored the opening goal when Selanne shot a beautiful backhander that beat Quick short side. Just 11 seconds later, the Finns scored again. After a neutral zone turnover by David Backes (St. Louis Blues), Finland quickly went on the attack. With no American putting much effort to get back defensively besides Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild) and Backes, Jori Lehter fed it to Jussi Jokinen (Pittsburgh Penguins), who then tapped it in for an early 2-0 lead.

The second goal woke up the Americans a little bit as they started to sustain a good amount of offensive zone pressure. With a quick stick, Kane took it away from a Finnish defender, he had a breakaway, but Leo Komarov broke his stick to give Team USA yet another penalty shot. This time around, Kane went in slowly and quickly shot the puck high that clearly beat Rask, but it hit off the post.  

From then on, the collapse began for Team USA as Finland poured it on with three goals in the final period. Jusso Hietanen started it off with a one-time blast from the blue line through a crowd of players in front to beat Quick to make it 3-0. Following a terrible interference penalty by T.J. Oshie (Blues), Selanne put in his second tally of the game. From below the goal line, Mikael Granlund (Wild) made a beautiful saucer pass to an open Selanne at the slot and he knocked it in. 

Olli Maatta (Penguins) rounded out the scoring and his strong first Olympics with a one time slap shot from the right circle for his third goal of the tournament and the 5-0 lead. 

For Finland, the victory gives them six medals in their last eight Olympics (4 bronze, 2 silver). For the U.S., it is a sad ending for a team that had gold medal aspirations, but it was a well deserved result for their poor effort in their final game. 

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