Canada defeated the Nicklas Backstrom-less Swedes 3-0 today to clinch the country’s second consecutive Olympic gold medal. However, it was the pesky Finns that always seemed to steal the show throughout the games.
With an injury depleted roster, top line skaters Mikael Granlund and Teemu Selanne proved to be magical for Team Finland, combining for seven goals and six assists for 13 points, a plus-6 rating and an impressive 35 shots in six games. Even better, they especially seemed to have a knack for showing up in a big elimination game against the Russians and the bronze medal game against the United States.
Though it was an outstanding performance from Selanne in his sixth and final Olympic games, it would be Minnesota Wild sophomore second line center Granlund that finished the tournament leading all Finns in scoring. His three goals and four assists gave him seven points, a plus-3 rating and 20 shots–good enough for third in total point scoring in the tournament. Only Sweden’s Erik Karlsson and the USA’s Phil Kessel would have more with eight points apiece.
Granlund joins his idol and teammate Selanne, Karlsson, Kessel, Drew Doughty (CAN) and Henrik Lundqvist (SWE) on Sochi’s All-Tournament Team. Here’s NHL.com with the full release:
Canada goaltender Carey Price, who posted back-to-back shutouts in the semifinals and gold-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was named the best goaltender at the tournament as voted by the International Ice Hockey Federation directorate.
Price finished the Olympics with a shutout streak of 164 minutes, 19 seconds. The last goal he allowed was to Latvia’s Lauris Darzins with 4:19 remaining in the first period of the quarterfinals. He made 31 saves in a 1-0 blanking of the United States in the semifinal and 24 saves against Sweden in a 3-0 win in the gold-medal game Sunday.
The Montreal Canadiens goaltender finished the tournament with a 5-0 record, a 0.59 goals-against average and .972 save percentage. He allowed three goals on 106 shots.
The IIHF named Sweden’s Erik Karlsson the tournament’s best defenseman. He led all players at his position and tied for the tournament lead with eight points, and his four goals tied for the lead among defensemen. The Ottawa Senators defenseman also led Sweden in goals, assists (four) and plus/minus rating (plus-5).
In voting conducted by media covering the Olympics, Finland forward Teemu Selanne was named the tournament’s most valuable player. The 43-year-old led his team with four goals, including a pair against the U.S. in Finland’s 5-0 win in the bronze-medal game. Selanne became the oldest player in Olympic hockey history to score a goal and the oldest to win an Olympic hockey medal.
Selanne also was named to the All-Tournament team as selected by the media. He was joined by Kessel and Selanne’s Olympic teammate Mikael Granlund; defensemen Karlsson and Drew Doughty of Canada; and Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Granlund had a team-best seven points in six games for Finland and was tied for third in the tournament in scoring. Doughty led Canada and tied for the lead among tournament defensemen with four goals; his six points tied for the team lead. Lundqvist played every minute in goal for Sweden and allowed nine goals on 159 shots. He finished with a 1.50 GAA, .943 save percentage and two shutouts. Lundqvist was the only goaltender to play 100 percent of his team’s minutes at the Olympics.
Now the question is whether or not Granlund’s dominant display at the Olympics will translate over to North American ice. With the Wild headed into their final stretch run, he’ll be expected to continue playing at a high level. There’s no question the Finnish Flash’s young protégé has set the bar pretty high for himself. The fans in Minnesota can’t wait to see what magic he’ll perform next.