February 21, 2014

USA vs Finland: Sochi Bronze Medal Preview

The bronze medal game is a game no one really wants to be in, at least not immediately after losing a semi-final matchup and a chance for Olympic gold.
But that is exactly where Finland and the United States find themselves. And the team that appreciates the opportunity before them the soonest is likely to win a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Since the NHL era began at the Olympics Finland has won the most medals - three, including 1 silver and 2 bronze. Canada is guaranteed to match that on Sunday, so Finland will be motivated to keep that title and add another bronze - especially considering this may very well be the last NHL Olympics.
Moreover Finland will want to win for Teemu Selanne. Selanne - the 6 time Olympian and modern day Olympics all time leading scorer - will almost certainly be playing in his last international match. The Finns will want to make sure he exits on a winning note.
Will USA recoup in time for Saturday's match? They were emphatically and dramatically denied by Canada, devastating the Americans. Can they return to their high octane offense? Can they push the pace against a Finnish team that is the master of the big ice?
If Finland was healthy I'd like their chances. But they are still missing their top 3 centers - Valterri Filppula, Aleksandr Barkov and Mikko Koivu. 
I do think the Americans are more likely to regroup and fight for gold than the Canadians with their flawed gold or bust mentality. So I expect the bronze medal game to be a top notch affair.

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