SOCHI, RUSSIA – Finland had more than enough offensive talent to overcome its slow start against Austria, even with Teemu Selanne back in the dressing room.
Wild forward Mikael Granlund had two goals and an assist and Jarkko Immonen scored twice as Finland opened preliminary-round Olympic play with an 8-4 victory over Austria on Thursday.
Jussi Jokinen and Petri Kontiola each had a goal and an assist for the Finns, who put 52 shots on beleaguered Austria goalie Bernhard Starkbaum despite playing the final two periods without Selanne, their captain and the leading scorer in Olympic history.
The 43-year-old “Finnish Flash’’ had an assist in the first period of his record-equaling sixth Olympics before sitting out because of an upper-body injury. Selanne should be fine for the Finns’ next game, team spokesman Janne Lahti said.
“He’s an old man, so he needs some rest, more than the other guys,” Kontiola said.
Sami Lepisto and Olli Maatta also scored for Finland, which never has lost to Austria at the Olympics.
Selanne got only eight shifts before apparently having problems with his neck or shoulders.
“Maybe he got the bad pillow!” said Sami Vatanen, Selanne’s teammate with the Anaheim Ducks.
Canada 3, Norway 1: Shea Weber and Jamie Benn scored in the second period to help defending Olympic champion Canada shake off a sluggish start and defeat Norway.
Patrick Thoresen redirected a shot in front of the net to pull the Norwegians within a goal on a power play 22 seconds into the third. Drew Doughty restored the two-goal lead 1:25 later in the period with a backhander.
“Kind of a bad first period, we knew we weren’t going to be perfect,” Doughty said. “But the most important thing is we got better as each period went on and that’s what we were looking for.”
Canada’s Carey Price made 19 saves in his Olympic debut, which included a giveaway that led to the only goal he allowed.
Russia 5, Slovenia 2: Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist in a breathtaking start and the Russians went on to beat Slovenia.
Ovechkin scored 1:17 after the puck dropped with a wrist shot that made the crowd roar. He made the flag-waving fans gasp in awe 2:37 later with a drop pass to set up Evgeni Malkin’s goal that gave Russia a 2-0 lead.
The Slovenians trailed only 3-2 after two periods in their first Olympic hockey game ever.
“We started well, got the lead and then we stopped playing,” Ovechkin said.