SOCHI, Russia – Team Canada’s path to a gold medal got a little tougher even after beating Finland in overtime.
By failing to win in regulation, Canada did not clinch the top seed and a favourable matchup in the quarter-finals. Instead, Sunday night’s 2-1 overtime win over Finland at Bolshoy Ice Dome means the Canadians are the tournament’s third seed and could face Switzerland in their next game.
Sixth-seeded Switzerland and 11th-seeded Latvia play Tuesday in the qualification round. The winner meets Canada in the quarter-finals Wednesday.
Drew Doughty scored the winner at the 2:32 mark of overtime. Doughty also scored in regulation for Canada, while Tuomo Ruutu had Finland’s goal.
Carey Price made 14 saves to get the victory on a night Canada’s defence limited Finland’s offensive opportunities but the offence struggled to create on the big ice against a tough opponent. Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for the Finns, who are the fourth seed and are likely to see host Russia in the quarter-finals.
Finland let it be known early on that they weren’t going to be outmuscled by a bigger, deeper Canadian opponent. Ruutu drilled Canada captain Sidney Crosby about a minute into the game, setting a physical tone for the first period.
Patrice Bergeron felt the pain not long after, though it came on a shot from teammate Shea Weber. After Crosby entered the zone and fed it to Weber, the big defenceman unleashed a wicked one-timer that hit Bergeron in front.
It wasn’t clear whether Bergeron was struck in the hand, arm or chest, but he went to the bench in pain. He did not miss a shift.
Coach Mike Babcock said Friday night that Weber’s shot is so powerful he typically doesn’t want to put his best Detroit Red Wings players on the ice on the penalty kill and risk them getting hurt when facing the Nashville Predators.
Just after Bergeron’s scare, it looked like Canada would get on the board at the 7:58 mark. Alex Pietrangelo’s shot deflected off a Finnish player’s stick, popped into the air and landed on top of the net behind Rask.
Rick Nash swatted at it and dislodged it, and Patrick Sharp tapped it in. Officials reviewed the play, ultimately deciding it was not a goal because of a high stick on Nash.
According to the IIHF case book, that’s the correct call. It would have been a goal had Nash’s stick been below the crossbar.
At 13:44, no review was needed for Canada to take a 1-0 lead. With Jarkko Immonen—who replaced the injured Aleksander Barkov in the lineup and as the first-line centre—in the box for interference, Doughty got a shot through from just inside the top of the left faceoff circle that hit the top-left corner behind Rask.
Not long after, Jonathan Toews came close to giving Canada a two-goal lead when he had a nifty wrap-around attempt that forced Rask to dive across the crease. Rask covered it up, and there was some question whether it went in.
Before the linesman dropped the puck for the next faceoff, the horn blared signalling the situation room wanted to take a look. After the review, it was announced that the puck did not completely cross the goal-line.
For a long while, Canada lacked much in the way of sustained attack time, save for a shift by the line of Patrick Marleau, Toews and Jeff Carter. Still, it held the 1-0 lead until Finland struck late in the second period.
Ossi Vaananen took a shot from the point that Ruutu deflected perfectly past defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Price to tie the score at 1 at the 18:00 mark of the second.
Finland got buzzing from there, almost taking the lead 30 seconds later on an impressive rush by Juhamatti Aaltonen. Mikael Granlund had his chance down the wing with 25 seconds to go.
NOTES—Canada scratched forward Martin St. Louis, defenceman P.K. Subban and goaltender Mike Smith. Sharp was back in after being a scratch Friday night vs. Austria. … The attendance was announced as 11,263.