Ten Olympians took the ice at CONSOL Energy Center Wednesday night in the Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Washington Capitals. Two players from Finland, Jussi Jokinen and Olli Maatta, arguably had the biggest impact, said Channel 11’s Bill Phillips.
Jokinen scored the Penguins’ third goal of the game, and his prediction that Maatta would score came true. Maatta, 19, who will be the third youngest player in the Olympic hockey tournament, scored the game winner for the Penguins with less than two minutes to play in Wednesday night’s game.
"We both were looking at scouting for their goalie, and I just told him, ‘I feel you are going to score tonight.’ So I think I have to tell him every game," said Jokinen.
If Jokinen does that before every Olympic game, the rest will have their hands full when they play the Lions of Finland and their 19-year-old defenseman.
"You want to make it hard for the forwards to block the shots and predict what I'm going to do, so it is something I've been working on and something I'm going to do going forward," said Maatta.
Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, who gets to see Maatta up close every day, already knows why Maatta will not be intimidated by the Olympic stage.
"It is pretty impressive tonight, but that is some of the consistency in his game, and we keep saying it: This is just not something you see from a 19-year-old defenseman who can play with this kind of poise and composure," said Bylsma.
Phillips recommends that you do not overlook Finland when filling out your Olympic tournament pools.
The Lions of Finland will be looking to medal in a third-straight game and six of the last eight Winter Olympics.
Opening ceremonies in Sochi are just three weeks away. Be sure to tune in to WPXI Channel 11 to watch our Olympians go for gold.