World Cup goalie nods: Rinne over Rask for Finland in exhibition opener

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Today, we’ll get our first look at six of the teams participating in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey and, subsequently, the starting goalies for said teams.

So without further ado, here are your starters for today’s exhibition openers…

Sweden at Finland: The Finns will start Pekka Rinne over Tuukka Rask in the opener, though Rask is slated to get the start when the two sides meet again on Saturday at the Scandanavium in Sweden.

Finland’s third goalie, Mikko Koskinen, is expected to be exactly that throughout the exhibition stint and tournament — Finland’s third goalie.

Sweden, meanwhile, will start Jacob Markstrom tonight with Jhonas Enroth listed as his backup. The country’s regular No. 1, Henrik Lundqvist, won’t dress for the opener — something head coach Rikard Gronborg said was planned before Lundqvist suffered a rib injury during practice last week.

Czech Republic at Russia: Per NHL.com, Petr Mrazek will get the nod over Michal Neuvirth for the Czechs as they open exhibition play at the Yubileyny Sports Palace. This comes after Tuesday’s news that the Czechs are only going to play Mrazek and NeuvirthOndrej Pavelec, the veteran Jets netminder, will serve as the No. 3 throughout.

Russian head coach Oleg Znarok hasn’t made it official yet, but it’s believed Sergei Bobrovsky will get start in goal ahead of Semyon Varlamov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Team Europe at Team North America: Per TVA, Jaroslav Halak will get the nod for Europe over Thomas Greiss and Philipp Grubauer, a late addition to the squad after Frederik Andersen was ruled out due to injury.

It’s a bit of an interesting dynamic at play, as both Greiss and Halak are also competing for the No. 1 gig with the Islanders. Greiss, you’ll recall, filled in admirably for the injured Halak last season and helped the Isles win their first playoff series since 1993.

For Team North America, no big surprises — GM Peter Chiarelli said Matt Murray was the team’s No. 1 netminder coming into the tourney, and he’ll get the start tonight. John Gibson is expected to back up.

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