Olympic Hockey Preview: Canada vs. Sweden, US vs. Finland

Women's HockeyThe United States has taken a bruising in the last few days, giving up a two goal lead in the final minutes of the women’s gold medal game, ultimately losing to Canada in extra time. They may be happy when they reflect on back on their run in years to come, but on February 20th it was all tears on both sides. The Canadians cried tears of joy on their come from behind win, the United States tried to hold back theirs after a heartbreaking loss, and only Switzerland seemed able to rally and smile to have finished with any medal at all. The United States men’s team is now faced with the same prospect, having also lost to their Canadian foes in the semi-finals, now having to skate for the bronze or come home with nothing at all. The U.S. kept it close but couldn’t dig the puck off the boards to put enough shots on goal, so Canada only needed one in the net to get the job done. Sweden got goals from Eriksson and Karlsson to edge out Finland 2-1, with Henrik Lundqvist turning in another stellar performance in front of the net to limit scoring opportunities by the Finns. The oddsmakers are expecting both the U.S. and Finland to play as close as they did in their semi-finals, where the elusive gold and silver skipped past their skates and over the boards – forever out of reach. At this writing the money line favors the United States at -200, putting Finland at +170. The way the U.S. crushed earlier opponents that line could have been longer, but the Finns did manage to put one goal past Lundqvist, so they may do the same to Jonathan Quick. The overtime line is intriguing since we already saw one medal game go extra minutes. No overtime is -430 and OT is +345. That feels long to me – I’d want to put a little action on the OT to see if it pays. The gold medal game puts Canada and Sweden against each other on Sunday, and at this moment the money line favors the Canadians at -175, placing Sweden as the dog at +155. I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing about Lundqvist at this point, but I’m sure he’s equally tired of being the best goalie in the NHL to have never won a Stanley Cup. A gold medal in 2006 puts salve on that wound, and another in 2014 would ease it some more. If you think he can stonewall the Canadian shots on goal and the Finnish defense can keep Weber and Benn from finding the net, then the dog is your bet. Carey Price has the second best save percentage of these games though at .963, trailing behind only Jonas Hiller of Switzerland. After seeing the U.S. get few pucks on goal and even less (ZERO) in said goal, the Canadian defense is money to me – and like the old saying goes “defense wins championships.” The overtime line is a wide spread here too at -365 none and +305 some. Save that bet for the U.S. game. As always this preview is for entertainment purposes and if you wager do so responsible.

Written by Stevie J

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