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Report: Finland will start Lehtonen vs. Norway

Feb 13, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 13: Thomas Hundertpfund #27 of Austria celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against Tuukka Rask #40 of Finland during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 13, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Getty Images

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.

  1. darksidecowboy - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    With Benn scoring a goal for Canada, Nichushkin scoring a goal for Russia, can’t wait to see the Big Finn play lights out. Just keep that fire boys when you get back to Dallas, we need to make the playoffs!

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