Yesterday was rivalry day at the WJC, as the tournament hosts in Finland, and the Russians triumphed over Sweden and the USA respectively. This sets up a showdown between the hosts and Russia at Hartwall arena for all the marbles.
First it was the Finns making good for the hometown fans against their bitter rivals from Sweden. While the Swedes had been dominant all tournament, they ran into some penalty trouble, as well as some good goaltending, ending their tournament without a shot at gold.
Finland's Kaapo Kahkonen made 21 saves to hold Sweden to their lone goal, and as a result they didn't need the offensive outburst they had against Canada to get through to the final.
In a mirroring result, Russia eliminated the Americans for the third straight year by the same score of 2-1, and will now try for their first gold medal since 2011.
Alex Nedeljkovic was as solid as ever for the USA, turning away 31 of 32 shots, but it just wasn't enough, as Ilya Samsonov was equal to the task at the other end, turning away 26 shots of his own. The Americans likely relished the idea of a goaltending battle, but they unfortunately couldn't get the run support.
Finland will now be looking to ride the support of their home crowd to a victory on home soil, while Russia is going to try and play spoiler. Obviously the crowd will be firmly behind the Finns, but their opponents certainly aren't going to lay down.
A very interesting statline lies in the special teams. Russia's tournament-leading 94.74% success rate at killing penalties will clash with Finland's lethal - and also tournament-best - 40.74% power play. Special teams will be a major factor in determining who gets gold this year.
It could wind up being another battle of the goaltenders, or it could be an absolute barnburner. It's hard to say what to expect of any single game at this year's tournament, but regardless of how it winds up going, it is sure to be an exciting game to watch.
|Team Russia||Statistic||Team Finland|
|185||Shots on Goal||201|
Puck drop is at 1:30 PM EST / 10:30 AM PST
You can watch the game on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, RDS, or streaming on TSN GO. You can listen to the game on the TSN radio network. The NHL Network will carry the game in the United States. Americans can stream the game via NBC Sports.
|Left Wing||Centre||Right Wing|
|Maxim Lazarev||Vladislav Kamenev||Yevgeni Svechnikov|
|Andrei Kuzmenko||Andrei Svetlakov||Kirill Kaprizov|
|Alexander Polunin||Pavel Kraskovskiy||Yegor Korshkov|
|Alexander Dergachyov||Radel Fazleyev||Artur Lauta|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Yegor Rykov||Nikita Zhuldikov|
|Ivan Provorov||Alexander Mikulovich|
|Damir Sharipzyanov||Dimitriy Sergeyev|
|Sergei Boikov||Yegor Voronkov|
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Patrik Laine||Sebastian Aho||Jesse Puljujarvi|
|Antti Kalapudas||Roope Hintz||Mikko Rantanen|
|Aleksi Saarela||Julius Nattinen||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Kasper Bjorkqvist||Juho Lammikko||Sebastian Repo|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|Olli Juolevi||Joni Tuulola|
|Niko Mikkola||Sami Niku|
|Miska Siikonen||Vili Saarjarvi|
| Kaapo Kahkonen|