SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 21: Teemu Selanne #8 of Finland looks on during the Men's Ice Hockey Semifinal Playoff against Sweden on Day 14 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 21, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Selanne: Finns were ‘one step behind the whole game’

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Finland looked great in beating Russia in the Olympic quarterfinals but, according to its veteran leader, that win came at a cost.

“We were one step behind the whole game,” Finnish forward Teemu Selanne said after his team’s 2-1 loss to Sweden in the semifinals. “Maybe the Russia game took so much energy from us.”

As great a team as Finland is, the Olympics were a constant uphill battle. Selanne, 43, represents a squad that leaned heavily on its old guard. The Finnish roster includes four players that are at least 35 years old and another eight guys in their 30s.

Further taxing was a series of injuries both before and during the tournament that decimated them up the middle. The Finnish lineup would have certainly looked different if centers Mikko Koivu, Valtteri Filppula and Aleksander Barkov were healthy.

On top of that, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was a late scratch today due to an illness.

This match against Sweden did nothing to rejuvenate the Finns, but they have to push onward. Although their quest for the gold medal is finished, they still have one game left in their schedule. One last chance for Selanne to add to his collection of Olympic medal.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen