All Ryan Miller needed was one. Well, Team USA gave him six.
The common theme for the Americans throughout this Olympic tournament was goaltender Ryan Miller stealing the show.
This afternoon against Finland, it was the offense that gave the crowd their money's worth.
With a trip to the gold-medal game on the line, the United States' offense exploded in the first period.
After a gaffe by Finland goalie, Mikka Kiprusoff, U.S. forward Ryan Malone opened the scoring just two minutes in by netting the puck into an empty goal.
Then the floodgates opened.
The U.S. added five more goals in just over six minutes, quickly turning the game into a blowout.
Unlike when Team USA defeated Norway 6-1 last week, this game was a dominant performance.
Right from the opening minute, the Americans had one thing in mind: gold.
Zach Parise continued with his hot hand, scoring the second goal for the U.S. on the powerplay.
Just over two minutes later, defensemen Erik Johnson of the St. Louis Blues added another powerplay goal to put the Americans up by three.
Kiprusoff, who had entered the game with phenomenal play, was simply not himself.
Entering the game, Kiprusoff had a remarkable 1.35 GAA, which ballooned to 2.52 by the time he was yanked after allowing four goals.
The Finnish goalie had allowed four goals the entire tournament up until that point.
Down by three, with his team clearly shaken, Finland's head coach Jukka Jalonen called a timeout to calm his players—it didn't work.
Patrick Kane blew the game wide-open—and Kiprusoff out of the crease—with back-to-back goals, putting the U.S. up 5-0.
Center Paul Stastny added the icing on the cake a few seconds later.
The shots might have been 25-25 by game's end, but the U.S. absolutely dominated the Fins all afternoon.
The only goal for Finland came against U.S. backup Tim Thomas, who entered the game with just over eight minutes to play, giving Ryan Miller a much deserved rest.
Besides the stellar play of Miller, the U.S. continued to get great play from one of their other tournament standouts.
Defensemen Brian Rafalski continued his torrid offensive production against Finland, pitching in two assists.
Rafalski now has eight points for the tournament, which puts him atop the leader boards for scoring.
Parise is right behind him, tied for second with seven points.
Miller, on the other hand, leads all goalies with an other-worldly 1.04 GAA and 95.37 SV%.
With Team USA advancing to the gold-medal game, all eyes will be on Canada-Slovakia tonight.
They always say that sequels are never as good as the first, but I have a funny feeling a U.S.-Canada matchup wont disappoint.
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