Given how they got here, this is not the game either team wanted to play heading into this tournament. With that said, both Team USA and Finland have plenty to be proud of as on Saturday, they hope to end their Olympics with a consolation prize: the bronze medal.
Should the Americans win on Saturday, they will capture their first Olympic medal outside of North America in 42 years. Team USA last accomplished the feat by winning silver at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. Finland, meanwhile, have yet to win gold since the NHL began participating in 1998. However, the Finns have finished on the podium in three of the last four Olympics and enter Saturday's game as the defending bronze medalists. For one Finn in particular, a win on Saturday would be a great way to close out a career. 41-year-old Teemu Selanne hopes to finish his sixth Olympiad with a medal, even if it isn't the colour he was initially hoping for.
Before their semi-final match with Sweden on Friday, Finland learned that their goaltender Tuukka Rask came down with the flu and instead, had to go with Kari Lehtonen. While he was good, making 23 saves in relief, the Swedes won by a 2-1 scored, advancing to Sunday's gold-medal game against Canada.
For the Americans, they entered their semi-final having scored a total of 20 goals in their previous four games. Most wouldn't have believed that after Team USA's performance on Friday where they were shut out by the Canadians. One of the lone bright spots for the US was netminder Jonathan Quick who stood on his head making 36 saves en route to the loss. It's unclear as of now whether Quick will go again on Saturday or whether the US will play Ryan Miller instead. Regardless, Jonathan Quick had a tournament to be proud of.
It may not be for the gold but Saturday will mark a great opportunity to end the Olympics on a high note for both sides, It's the United States and Finland squaring off and it should be good.
Enjoy the game!