Rask, Lundqvist make World Cup debuts as Finland-Sweden rivalry renews

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The Finns are making a significant change ahead of today’s virtual must-win against Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey.

And so are the Swedes.

Pekka Rinne, Finland’s opening night starter in goal, will be replaced by Tuukka Rask, head coach Lauri Marjamaki confirmed on Monday.

Meanwhile, Team Sweden bench boss Rickard Gronborg announced that Henrik Lunqvist, who missed the opener due to the flu, would be in net after Jacob Markstrom performed admirably in a win over the Russians.

The decision to bench Rinne is a tad surprising, though hardly shocking. The Nashville ‘tender wasn’t to blame for a lopsided 4-1 loss to Team North America — he made 39 saves, and Marjamaki called him Finland’s best player — but he did fight the puck on certain occasions.

Outside of Rinne’s performance, it’s clear Marjamaki and the Finnish coaching staff needed to shake something up.

That’s probably why they’re going with Rask, who has starred internationally in the past. He was stellar at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, posting a 1.73 GAA and .937 save percentage in helping the Finns capture bronze.

As for Sweden, it was expected Lundqvist would regain the starter’s net when healthy.