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Canada celebrates their overtime victory over Finland in a men's hockey game at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, February 16, 2014. Canada defeated Finland in overtime 3-2. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Canada defeats Finland in overtime in men's hockey

ADLER, Russia -- Canada squeaked by Finland with a 2-1 overtime Olympic Games victory Sunday night in which the Finns provided a blueprint of what the defending Olympic champions can expect the rest of the tournament.

Canada and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty's second goal of the night was the difference in a tight-checking game in which the Finns clogged the middle and challenged Team Canada all over the ice all night long.

"I think that's how a lot of teams are going to play us throughout the rest of the tournament," Doughty said. "They're going to kind of sit back and make us make mistakes and on turnovers they're going to jump and try to get odd-man rushes. They did a really good job of that tonight, but we overcame it."

Doughty's goal at the overtime's 2:32# mark secured first place in Group B for Canada and an automatic spot in the quarterfinals against the winner of Tuesday's Switzerland-Latvia qualification game. Finland, the fourth seed out of the opening round, will play the Russia-Norway winner in the quarters.

"They are the best team in the world right now," Finland forward Tuomo Ruutu said of Team Canada.

But the Finns more than held their own until Doughty's decisive shot.

"They give you the outside and clog up the middle," Canada and Kings forward Jeff Carter said. "It's not easy. It's different and you really have to work for your space."

In those tight confines, it looked like Canada took a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the game. When the puck ended up sitting on top of the Finland goal, Canada's Rick Nash swiped it off and against the back of Finland goaltender Tuukka Rask and into the net. The goal, however, was waved off after a review that showed Nash had used a high stick to hit the puck.

Five minutes later, Doughty struck for good with a power-play goal from the outside on a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. Finland tied the game in the second period when Ruutu sent a deflection past Canada goaltender Carey Price.

The game stayed tied until Shea Webber in overtime sprung Carter up ice. Carter in turn dished to Doughty overlapping on the left wing. Skating again into the left faceoff circle, Doughty pulled the trigger on the winning goal.

"We realized we can beat these guys," Finland and Ducks forward Teemu Selanne said. "Obviously, it's a bad break at the end, but that's hockey."

The winner was Doughty's fourth goal in three games.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence," Carter said. "When you combine that confidence with his skill, it makes a pretty dynamic player."

Russia lost its chance to skip the qualifying round when it was forced into a shootout by Slovakia, winning, 1-0. Austria won its first men's Olympic hockey game in a dozen years, defeating Norway, 3-1.

KOPITAR UPDATE

Slovenia and Kings forward Anze Kopitar was taken to the Olympic Villages medical facility for blood test after sitting out the third period of Sunday's 5-1 loss to the U.S. at Shayba Arena.

"He just doesn't feel well because he had something wrong with his stomach," said Slovenia coach Matjaz Kopitar, Anze's father. "He didn't feel well and he was without power, so we didn't want to risk it. If you can't play 100 percent, it's better not to, but hopefully he's going to be better."

But the elder Kopitar was uncertain about his son's availability later in the tournament.

"We'll see," Matjaz Kopitar said. "They're going with the doctors now (to the Olympic Village) and they're going to check his blood to see what is going on."

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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CANADA, FINLAND


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