This quarterfinal matchup between Finland and Russia has the potential to be an instant classic. There’s a little something for everyone here, and the game could take on any number of different tones and temperatures.
Both squads are capable of putting up big goal totals. Both teams can play chippy and both teams feature strong netminding and solid defensive play. Unlike the Slovenia vs Sweden matchup, it’s tougher to find a “favorite” in this contest. If Russia had played up to expectations through four games, then maybe they’d be the team to watch here.
The Russians have been underwhelming though, and the Finns have the firepower and goaltending to knock the host nation out of the tournament before they even have a chance to medal.
Star power is abundant in this contest. Russia rosters several of the most electric offensive talents in the world. Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Radulov and Evgeni Malkin lead the charge up front for the Russians. On any given night, one of these forwards is capable of dominating shifts, even if the rest of them are taking the evening off.
Finland’s name recognition isn’t quite as high as Russia’s, but their forwards are chippy and talented. 11 different players have scored for the Finns, making them one of the most balanced squads in the tournament. Heading into this game, things are just too close to call and this is a “may the best team win” scenario unlike anything else we’ve seen in the Winter Olympics men’s ice hockey tournament to this point.