SOCHI, Russia -- Finland got a bit more of a challenge than it expected in its Olympic hockey opener against Austria on Thursday, giving up a goal 36 seconds into the game and trailing twice in the first period before pulling away to an 8-4 victory at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
The Finns got a small scare when their captain, 43-year-old
during the first period.
“Maybe he had the bad pillow,” suggested Finland and Ducks defenseman
Team spokesman Janne Lahti said Selanne would be available to play in Finland's next game, against Norway on Friday.
In deference to his age, Selanne hasn't usually played both ends of the Ducks' back-to-back sequences this season. But Friday's game is the last of the day, so he would have extra time to recover, if needed.
“He’s fine. He’ll be back,” teammate
Before he left, Selanne picked up an assist to increase his career-Olympic scoring lead to 38 points.
"We kept plugging away and going at it and finally we got the lead and protected it," Rask said. "The first goal caught everybody sleeping. After that first goal we kind of woke up and didn't let it bother us."
"We were ready to play the game, which was good to see. In the back end, we knew we were not the quickest, the fastest," he said. "Our goaltender, if we want to beat a team like this or any team, he needs to be the best player. I thought he was good for us, but not great. That's not a knock on him. That's just reality."
It won't get easier for Austria, which will face Canada on Friday.
"I think if guys didn't know what to expect out of this tournament, they got a good reality check today," Vanek said. "If a team like us scores four goals against Finland, if you were to tell me before the game we could score four, I'd think we have a chance. Then to let up eight, we're not going to score that many. Our goalies need to be the best player and we need to help them out better."