Report: Finland will start Lehtonen vs. Norway

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Finland won comfortably against Austria on Thursday, but goaltender Tuukka Rask left something to be desired. He stopped just 16 of 20 shots against the underdog team in Finland’s 8-4 victory.

Perhaps due to that, it now looks like Kari Lehtonen will play between the pipes on Friday against Norway, according to the Finnish news outlet Yle Urheilu and Stars Inside Edge’s Mark Stepneski.

Going into this tournament, Finland’s goaltending was expected to be one of its primary strengths and was arguably the deepest, if not the outright best, among the Olympic rosters.

With that in mind, the decision to replace Rask after a tough performance isn’t surprising given the nation’s alternatives. It is a bit curious though that they would go with Lehtonen next, who has been great with the Dallas Stars, but has just two games worth of playoff experience.

Finland’s other option, Antti Niemi, is a Stanley Cup champion. That being said, he’s never played in a World Championships, let alone the Olympics, while Lehtonen at least has some international experience.

Niemi was a healthy scratch today, but might serve as the backup tomorrow.