Olympic Hockey Final Four Features Familiar Foes

Published on 20-Feb-2014 by Chips 10

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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Olympic Hockey Final Four Features Familiar Foes

After a wonderful Olympic final for the women, which saw Canada stun the United States in overtime, the men take center stage on Friday.

And it could be one of the best days hockey has seen in a season that has already had a cornucopia of highlights.

It's a shame the games are at 7.30am est and 12.00pm est, because it's a rivalry double-header that would really draw huge ratings if the games were in prime time in North America. Sweden and Finland viewers get that luxury instead, as those border rivals start the proceedings. Afterward, Canada and the United States take center stage, reprising their Olympic clash in the gold medal game four years ago.

Sweden is the top seed and has been led by Henrik Lundqvist, who has been spectacular in goal. The Swedes, who won the gold in 2006 with Lundqvist in net, got two goals from speedy Carl Hagelin in their 5-0 win over Slovenia in the quarterfinals. Finland defeated host Russia 3-1 in the quarterfinals, as Tuukka Rask made 37 saves and old reliable Teemu Selanne scored the winning goal.

In 2010, Sidney Crosby scored in overtime, earning the gold for Canada over the United States. This time around, the USA has been playing better. Canada has had trouble scoring, and the Americans have a better goalie in Jonathan Quick. Canada took 57 shots in their win over Lativa in the quarterfinals, finding the net only twice. Meanwhile, the United States has been steady throughout, which includes outlasting Russia in the game of this tournament, an eight-round shootout win that turned TJ Oshie into a viral sensation.

All signs point to a set of semi-finals packed with suspense and excitement. The cream has risen to the top. Expect excellence.