VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The whole "it's all about goaltending" thing is a hockey cliché of legendary status, but let's be honest here: We've seen two very good goalies epically fail in the elimination round; not even giving their team a chance to compete in the games, which were practically over by the first beer run.
First it was San Jose Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov in Canada's 7-3 debacle over the Russians, giving up three goals in the first 12:55. On Friday, it was Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames establishing a new benchmark for Olympic hockey futility in 2010, surrendering four goals in the first 12:46 of Finland's 6-1 loss against the U.S.
USA 1-0: Ryan Malone plays the puck into the Finland zone, with Bobby Ryan Phil Kessel on the forecheck. Kiprusoff handles the puck and passes to ... Malone, who scored into an empty net, energizing the Americans.
USA 2-0: On the power play, Paul Stastny fights off a Sami Salo check to pass to an open Zach Parise, putting it into an open net.
USA 3-0: Another power play, and center Joe Pavelski finds defenseman Erik Johnson in the circle for a quick shot past Kiprusoff. U.S. needed to get something out of Pavelski, and got it. Speaking of which ...
USA 4-0: Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane scores only his second goal of the tournament, rushing into the zone, taking a shot, collecting his own rebound and scoring on the backhander, mercifully chases Kipper to the bench.
USA 5-0: Kane, again, this time ripping a shot past Niklas Backstrom, who guessed wrong.
USA 6-0: Stastny, from Jamie Langenbrunner and Parise, rifles one home.
Total domination by the USA, which is guaranteed at least a silver. We'll have to wait until later to see if they're guaranteed another shot at the Canadians in what would be an incredible finale to an incredible tournament.