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Finland, Sweden seek gold-medal berth

Thursday, 02.20.2014 / 10:15 AM ET / Preview
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Finland, Sweden seek gold-medal berth

FINLAND vs. SWEDEN

WHEN: Friday, 7 a.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN)

WHERE: Bolshoy Ice Dome, Sochi, Russia

Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson leads all Swedish forwards with two goals and four points through the first four goals of the Olympic tournament. (Photo by Getty Images)

WHAT'S AT STAKE: The Scandinavian neighbors face off for a spot in the gold-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Finland got to this point by beating host Russia 3-1 in the quarterfinals Wednesday after finishing Group B play with a 2-0-1 record. Sweden is unbeaten, with goalie Henrik Lundqvist earning two shutout victories. The Swedes advanced to the semifinals with a 5-0 win against Slovenia on Wednesday.

The Finns and Swedes last played in the Olympics in the preliminary round at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, with Sweden winning 3-0. Sweden defeated Finland 3-2 in the gold-medal game at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Finland: After winning bronze at the Vancouver Games, Teemu Selanne and the Finns have their sights set on their country's first gold medal in Olympic men's hockey and perhaps a chance for revenge against the United States, which routed Finland 6-1 in the semifinals four years ago.

But first things first: Finland must beat rival Sweden and the U.S. must top Canada before that rematch could happen.

Finland is confident despite its role as underdog among the four remaining teams, according to Selanne.

"When we came here, nobody believed in us and it doesn't matter," the Anaheim Ducks' 43-year-old right wing, playing in his sixth Olympics, said after the game against Russia. "Our team believes, and I always say the gap is not very big with these top teams. It is a good feeling."

Tuukka Rask likely will be in goal for Finland. The Boston Bruins goalie has started three of four games; he stopped 37 of 38 shots he faced against Russia.

The Finns have outscored their opponents 18-8. Their loss came against Canada, 2-1 in overtime Sunday in what amounted to the Group B championship game.

Finland is without 18-year-old center Aleksander Barkov, who was injured in the preliminary round against Norway.

SWEDEN: The Swedes have outscored their Sochi opponents 15-5, but the games have been closer than the final scores would indicate. Sweden pulled away from Slovenia with four goals in the third period Wednesday after going to the second intermission clinging to a 1-0 lead.

Who scored in the third is more important than how many they scored. Daniel Sedin scored his first goal in 2014 in the quarterfinal win; he had not scored since Dec. 30, when the Philadelphia Flyers beat his Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in an NHL shootout.

"I lost count," Sedin said about his goal-scoring drought, which spanned 22 games in the NHL and at the Olympics, according to the Detroit Free Press. "It was a good feeling. It's my job to score. It's nice to get it over."

Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers scored his first two goals of the tournament in the third period.

Lundqvist stopped 19 shots against Slovenia to raise his save percentage to .948.

Sweden is without captain Henrik Zetterberg, who sustained a herniated disk in the preliminary round against the Czech Republic.

Sweden is aiming for its second gold medal in the five Olympics that have included NHL players; it won gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

WHAT'S NEXT: The winner will advance to the gold-medal game scheduled for 7 a.m. EST Sunday. The loser will play for bronze Saturday at 10 a.m. EST.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89