February 21, 2014

Sweden vs Finland: Sochi Olympic Semi Final Preview

Here's a friendly reminder to North American hockey fans - there is a second Olympic semi-final in Sochi on Friday.

While we all anxiously await the Canada-USA showdown (12pm ET/9am PT), eternal rivals Sweden and Finland face-off in the other semi (7am ET/4am PT).

The game promises to be a low scoring affair. With Henrik Lundqvist in net for Sweden and Tuukka Rask for Finland this game features arguably the two best goaltenders in the tournament. Both teams - especially Finland - employ especially stingy defensive game plans.

Both teams are decimated at center by injuries. Sweden is missing Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin as well as winger Johan Franzen while Finland is missing Valtteri Filppula, Aleksandr Barksov and brothers Mikko and Saku Koivu. 

Sweden has only won Olympic medal since 1998 when the NHL era at the Olympics began. But it was the gold medal in 2006 in Torino. That victory came at the expense of the Finns.

The Finns have had more podium finishes since 1998 than any other hockey nation winning that silver and two bronzes. 

But, as Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund said, "That's history. We must write a new history."

Expected lineups: Finland

• Mikael Granlund—Jarkko Immonen—Teemu Selanne
• Tuomo Ruutu—Olli Jokinen—Jussi Jokinen
• Lauri Korpikoski—Petri Kontiola—Juhamatti Aaltonen
• Antti Pihlstrom—Jori Lehtera—Leo Komarov
• Kimmo Timonen— Sami Vatanen
• Olli Maata—Sami Salo
• Sami Lepisto—Juuso Hietanen
• Ossi Vaananen—Lasse Kukkonen
• Tuukka Rask
• Kari Lehtonen

Expected Lineups: Sweden

• Daniel Sedin—Nicklas Backstrom—Loui Eriksson
• Alexander Steen—Patrik Berglund—Daniel Alfredsson
• Gabriel Landeskog—Marcus Johansson—Jakob Silfverberg
• Jimmie Ericsson—Marcus Kruger—Carl Hagelin/Gustav Nyquist
• Alexander Edler—Erik Karlsson
• Jonathan Ericsson—Niklas Kronwall
• Niklas Hjalmarsson—Johnny Oduya
Extra: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
• Henrik Lundqvist
• Jhonas Enroth

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