All posts by The Associated Press

Finland meets Canada, Germany gets Sweden in men’s hockey quarters

Eeli Tolvanen had three assists and Petri Kontiola scored twice as Finland survived a scare from host South Korea to win 5-2 on Tuesday night to advance to face Canada in the Olympic quarterfinals.

Tolvanen, a Nashville Predators prospect, assisted on Finland's first three goals and is the tournament's leading scorer with nine points in four games. Dallas Stars prospect Miro Heiskanen and Juuso Hietanen also scored, Sakari Manninen added an empty-netter and Mikko Heiskanen made 17 saves for Finland.

South Korea players carried flags around the ice after the game at their first Olympics. Brock Radunske and Jin Hui Ahn scored the quickest two goals in South Korea hockey history - 2:03 apart in the second period to make it a game.

South Korea had been outscored 14-1 in pool play. Canadian-born goaltender Matt Dalton stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced to keep South Korea in it against Finland.

Germany to meet Sweden

Yannic Seidenberg scored 32 seconds into overtime to give Germany a 2-1 victory over Switzerland in the qualification round Tuesday night, earning a trip to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Sweden.

Leonard Pfoderl scored in regulation for Germany, which got 20 saves from goaltender Danny aus den Birken in eliminating Switzerland.

Former NHL goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped 23 of 25 shots in net for the Swiss, who got a second-period goal from Simon Moser to tie it. Switzerland couldn't muster much offense against a structured Germany team.

Germany next faces Sweden, the only team to go 3-0-0 in pool play. The Swedes are led by former NHL forward Linus Omark and goaltender Viktor Fasth, who stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced in two starts.

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Olympic hockey players abandon handshakes over norovirus concerns

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) One of hockey's most time-honored traditions is in danger of not happening at the Olympics.

Officials have told players to fist-bump each other rather than shaking hands to prevent transmission of norovirus, which is highly contagious. U.S. defenseman James Wisniewski's 62-year-old father tested positive for norovirus last week and is one of 49 of 283 confirmed Olympic cases still in quarantine.

''It's something that you're like, 'Ah, really how bad can it get?' And then all of a sudden bang, bang - a couple people close to you have it and you don't really know how, you don't know where,'' Wisniewski said Monday. ''You don't want it going through your locker room, that's for sure.''

That's why players are taking precautions by fist-bumping instead of shaking hands. It's particularly important for the Russian team because it's customary for them to shake hands with everyone each day.

The U.S. men's team definitely isn't shaking hands. Alternate captain Jim Slater even fist-bumps media members before interviews.

''It's good,'' Slater said. ''I do it to everybody. Touching hands and stuff, you never know where hands are. Just being cautious.''

Women's teams have decided to continue shaking hands, including the U.S. and Finland after their semifinal game Monday. Players know about the warning and decided the meaning behind the postgame ritual outweighs the risks.

''That's part of what's special about hockey is the mutual respect and the handshake after,'' U.S. forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said after advancing to the gold-medal game. ''In these tournament settings, it's not prelims anymore, so I think shaking hands ... it's just respect.''

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel is not sure it's necessary for players to stop but figures it's better to be safe than sorry.

''You know doctors - one doctor (has a) different opinion, like the lawyers,'' Fasel said. ''That would be a disaster if a good team is just taken out because of that. I feel sorry because this is hockey game and we shake hands at the close of game. (But) If we can help to avoid that there is an infection in the team in a very important moment of the tournament, I think that's a good decision.''

Fasel added that he hopes players can have a real handshake in elimination games because it's hockey tradition.

U.S. players don't mind skipping this tradition, saying it's not worth the risk.

''I'm not concerned about it, but just trying to take every precaution not to get it,'' forward Broc Little said. ''I think the fist-bump's a good idea.''

Wisniewski and those around him thought it a good idea to stay away from his father, who is confined to one of two apartments the family is renting in South Korea. Wisniewski said his dad, Jim, started getting sick while waiting for a taxi and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

Jim Wisniewski is feeling a bit better now after sleeping almost all day Sunday, but his son isn't taking any chances.

''It was pretty bad,'' Wisniewski said. ''I've stayed away from him.''

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Olympic tournament full of NHL talent from past and future

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) Mark Arcobello had a choice between shuttling to and from the minor leagues in North America and taking his talents to Europe.

Arcobello, who went to Europe a year for some stability before the NHL decided not to participate in the Olympics, said he is glad he took the path less traveled because it helped him make the U.S. national team.

''This opportunity kind of solidifies that I made the right decision,'' said Arcobello, who spent time with the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs organizations. ''It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if I'd still be going up and down between the minors and NHL right now, I'd be probably regretting it and wishing that I had left.''

Arcobello is one of the poster boys for this unpredictable, wide-open Olympic men's hockey tournament that begins Wednesday with the U.S. against Slovenia and Russia playing Slovakia. Even though current NHL players aren't taking part, 94 of the 300 Olympians have played at least one NHL game and every country has at least one former player.

''People say the NHL's not here, but it's all NHL talent,'' U.S. defenseman James Wisniewski said. ''Maybe it's not the All-Star talent that they're looking at like a Patrick Kane or (Jonathan) Toews or (Ryan) Getzlaf - those kind of guys. But it's still NHL talent. It's just the guys that you really never heard of because they decided to take the European route.''

A lot of them took the European route. Players at the Olympics come from 19 different professional leagues based in 13 countries plus the NCAA and Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps.

Canada has 23 former NHL players and the U.S. 16, down to Norway and South Korea with two and Slovenia one. Russia might have the two best former NHL stars in Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, and Finland the best goaltender now who played in the NHL in Mikko Koskinen.

It's an NHL tournament. Just of the past and future.

''Everybody has a lot of talent here,'' said Kovalchuk, who leads the favored Russians after playing for the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils. ''We have a great team. There are five, six teams I think that are in the same level who's got a lot of young kids who will be future NHLers, too.''

Soon-to-be NHL talent is everywhere. Sweden defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is expected to be the No. 1 pick in June, and U.S. college players Jordan Greenway and Ryan Donato, Finland defenseman Miro Heiskanen and forward Eeli Tolvanen, and Russia forward Kirill Kaprizov should be there in no time.

Combine that young skill with over 17,000 games of NHL experience, and players expect the quality of hockey to be better than expected.

''I think it's going to shock some people,'' said U.S. defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti, who played for the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes. ''Obviously with the NHL current players not coming, it's a little bit of a different scenario, but there's a lot of great players here that are excited to show what they can bring to the team and with the opportunity to play on the big stage and actually compete for a medal.''

Germany coach Marco Sturm, who played 938 regular-season and 68 playoff games in the NHL, said everyone will treat it the same because ''there is still gold, silver and bronze.''

Historically, the value of those medals will certainly be reduced compared to those given out in the five previous Olympics with NHL players. It's not what hockey people like to call a ''best-on-best'' tournament like the 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 Olympics and the 1996, 2004 and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, though it's far more of a mystery.

''More unpredictable because not a lot of teams know about each other,'' U.S. coach Tony Granato said.

For all the scouting and video teams can use to learn about each other, one major question is who are the most dangerous players.

Kovalchuk leading the Kontinental Hockey League in scoring. Koskinen is among the KHL's best goalies and other season trends give an indication, though the motivation of this unique chance and the quirkiness of a short tournament provide the opportunity for the tournament to be a must-watch drama.

''I do not think it will be easier (without NHL stars),'' said Slovenia's Jan Mursak, who played 46 games for the Detroit Red Wings. ''It is sometimes even harder to play against the players from Europe who, for a lot of them, this is their first Olympics. I am sure they will be pumped up as much as we are.''

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Finns to the NHL in a flash: Heiskanen, Tolvanen are ready

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) Miro Heiskanen and Eeli Tolvanen are must-see entertainment at the Olympics, even for their Finnish teammates.

Heiskanen and Tolvanen are the only 2017 first-round draft picks playing in the tournament, an opportunity to show what their very-near NHL futures might look like. Heiskanen, a puck-moving defenseman who was the third pick of the Dallas Stars, and Tolvanen, a scoring winger who was the 30th pick of the Nashville Predators, have substantial roles for Finland and are expected to play in the NHL next season, if not sooner.

''It's a great thing to get a chance to play with them before they go in the bigger league,'' captain Lasse Kukkonen said. ''I think it's going to be fun.''

Heiskanen and Tolvanen are 18-year-olds who joke around in the locker room and bring what coach Lauri Marjamaki called a ''freshness'' to the team full of European-based veterans. Tolvanen will play on the first line alongside Petri Kontiola and get first power-play time, and Heiskanen will be counted on to pump in some goals from the blue line.

That's not too much of an expectation. Two of the youngest players in the tournament, along with projected 2018 top pick Rasmus Dahlin of Sweden, Heiskanen and Tolvanen have drawn rave reviews for how they fit in with and against older players.

''It's amazing to see how well they play at a young age, but if you watch them on the ice you could never tell,'' Kukkonen said.

Heiskanen has 11 goals and eight assists in 25 games with HIFK in the Finnish Elite League, while Tolvanen has 17 goals and 17 assists in 47 games with Jokerit in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Playing against grown men seems to make them thrive. Heiskanen said older teammates ''are smarter, and it's maybe easier to play with those guys,'' and Tolvanen considers it a challenge.

''I've always been the youngest guy on the team,'' Tolvanen said. ''It's just more fun playing against older guys because you know they're stronger, maybe faster than you are, so you have to compete every day and you have to give your best every night.''

The Stars and defending Western Conference-champion Predators know they have something special in Heiskanen and Tolvanen. Rumors have swirled about Tolvanen joining the Predators this season, but he's concerned first about the Olympics and the rest of the KHL season.

''I don't think that's a thing I have to worry (about) right now,'' Tolvanen said. ''I just have to live in the moment and live day by day. I still have playoffs with Jokerit, so let's see after the playoffs what I'm going to do.''

Tolvanen said his game resembles that of St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko and compared Heiskanen's to Norris Trophy-winning Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. Those are lofty comparisons, but Finns who have played in the NHL like what they see so far.

''(Heiskanen) really plays like a seasoned veteran,'' former Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo said. ''I play with Tolvanen and he's been excellent. ... His overall game's been improving all the time. He's going to be a big part of this team and a big part of Jokerit.''

Nashville already is overflowing with young forwards - Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala - and looks primed for another deep playoff run. Any team looking to trade with the Predators ahead of the Feb. 26 deadline will undoubtedly ask about Tolvanen, but he and Heiskanen might be NHL-ready and able to help now.

''He's a great kid,'' Marjamaki said. ''Eeli's so talented (of a) guy and versatile player. I like his hockey sense, he's pretty good skating and (has a) unbelievable shot.''

Heiskanen, who is feeling good now after dealing with the effects of a concussion in the fall, figures making the jump to the NHL is possible next season as long as he trains hard this summer. Playing with him in pre-Olympic tournaments made quite the impression on Tolvanen, who is on board with Heiskanen taking his talents to the next level.

''He's an amazing player,'' Tolvanen said. ''He's really fun to play with because he can see you and he has the ability to score goals, so I think that's a D-man I want on my team.''

Dallas' Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn should like the sound of that.

For his part, Tolvanen also said he's ready to make the leap to the NHL after proving himself in the KHL, and Kukkonen is eager to witness what the two kids can do when they get to North America.

''The sky's the limit,'' Kukkonen said. ''We've seen both guys doing big things already, and they only keep getting better, so I think they're going to be top players in the world once they get a little bit older.''

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Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org

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Finns to the NHL in a flash: Heiskanen, Tolvanen are ready

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) Miro Heiskanen and Eeli Tolvanen are must-see entertainment at the Olympics, even for their Finnish teammates.

Heiskanen and Tolvanen are the only 2017 first-round draft picks playing in the tournament, an opportunity to show what their very-near NHL futures might look like. Heiskanen, a puck-moving defenseman who was the third pick of the Dallas Stars, and Tolvanen, a scoring winger who was the 30th pick of the Nashville Predators, have substantial roles for Finland and are expected to play in the NHL next season, if not sooner.

''It's a great thing to get a chance to play with them before they go in the bigger league,'' captain Lasse Kukkonen said. ''I think it's going to be fun.''

Heiskanen and Tolvanen are 18-year-olds who joke around in the locker room and bring what coach Lauri Marjamaki called a ''freshness'' to the team full of European-based veterans. Tolvanen will play on the first line alongside Petri Kontiola and get first power-play time, and Heiskanen will be counted on to pump in some goals from the blue line.

That's not too much of an expectation. Two of the youngest players in the tournament, along with projected 2018 top pick Rasmus Dahlin of Sweden, Heiskanen and Tolvanen have drawn rave reviews for how they fit in with and against older players.

''It's amazing to see how well they play at a young age, but if you watch them on the ice you could never tell,'' Kukkonen said.

Heiskanen has 11 goals and eight assists in 25 games with HIFK in the Finnish Elite League, while Tolvanen has 17 goals and 17 assists in 47 games with Jokerit in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Playing against grown men seems to make them thrive. Heiskanen said older teammates ''are smarter, and it's maybe easier to play with those guys,'' and Tolvanen considers it a challenge.

''I've always been the youngest guy on the team,'' Tolvanen said. ''It's just more fun playing against older guys because you know they're stronger, maybe faster than you are, so you have to compete every day and you have to give your best every night.''

The Stars and defending Western Conference-champion Predators know they have something special in Heiskanen and Tolvanen. Rumors have swirled about Tolvanen joining the Predators this season, but he's concerned first about the Olympics and the rest of the KHL season.

''I don't think that's a thing I have to worry (about) right now,'' Tolvanen said. ''I just have to live in the moment and live day by day. I still have playoffs with Jokerit, so let's see after the playoffs what I'm going to do.''

Tolvanen said his game resembles that of St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko and compared Heiskanen's to Norris Trophy-winning Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. Those are lofty comparisons, but Finns who have played in the NHL like what they see so far.

''(Heiskanen) really plays like a seasoned veteran,'' former Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo said. ''I play with Tolvanen and he's been excellent. ... His overall game's been improving all the time. He's going to be a big part of this team and a big part of Jokerit.''

Nashville already is overflowing with young forwards - Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala - and looks primed for another deep playoff run. Any team looking to trade with the Predators ahead of the Feb. 26 deadline will undoubtedly ask about Tolvanen, but he and Heiskanen might be NHL-ready and able to help now.

''He's a great kid,'' Marjamaki said. ''Eeli's so talented (of a) guy and versatile player. I like his hockey sense, he's pretty good skating and (has a) unbelievable shot.''

Heiskanen, who is feeling good now after dealing with the effects of a concussion in the fall, figures making the jump to the NHL is possible next season as long as he trains hard this summer. Playing with him in pre-Olympic tournaments made quite the impression on Tolvanen, who is on board with Heiskanen taking his talents to the next level.

''He's an amazing player,'' Tolvanen said. ''He's really fun to play with because he can see you and he has the ability to score goals, so I think that's a D-man I want on my team.''

Dallas' Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn should like the sound of that.

For his part, Tolvanen also said he's ready to make the leap to the NHL after proving himself in the KHL, and Kukkonen is eager to witness what the two kids can do when they get to North America.

''The sky's the limit,'' Kukkonen said. ''We've seen both guys doing big things already, and they only keep getting better, so I think they're going to be top players in the world once they get a little bit older.''

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Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org

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Golden Knights’ Fleury set for 1st start back in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights had Tuesday's date circled for a long time. The game at PPG Paints Arena marks the return of longtime Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

As emotional as that will be, there's an aspect to the matchup that is likely a surprise to most in the hockey world compared with what was expected entering the season.

Vegas (35-13-4) is leading the Western Conference in its first NHL season. The expansion team isn't stumbling and bumbling the way many first-year pro sports teams have.

Coach Gerard Gallant has gotten used to being asked at every stop the team makes about the Golden Knights' sustained play at a high level. He has a standard answer, pointing to the club's 8-1 start in October.

"I think the guys built a lot of confidence from Day One," he said Monday after the team practiced in Pittsburgh. "When you get off to a start like we got off to, the guys believe in themselves. That's the biggest thing. They believe in themselves. They believe we're a good team."

In fact, Vegas has a better record than the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins (29-22-3), who are third in the tight Metropolitan Division.

So instead of a juggernaut against a newbie, Tuesday's game pits two of the top teams in the league.

"What they've done this year is unbelievable," Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole said of the Golden Knights.

"Their record obviously shows that, but they are certainly a team that they never give up. I don't know how many late-game rallies they've had, but it seems like you'll look at a scoreboard and they're down 2-1 and you think, 'Hey, they might actually lose tonight.' And they come back and win 3-2. And they've done it multiple times this year."

Vegas is 5-7-1 when trailing after two periods.

"From the start, the expectations weren't that high," Fleury said. "We have a good group of guys here, good leadership group, guys that have played a lot, been through a lot and won games.

"I don't think any of us wanted to be satisfied with just being OK. I think we wanted more than that. Life in hockey goes quick. I think you've got to make the most out of it. Winning makes a lot of things better, for sure."

Fleury, selected from Pittsburgh's roster by Vegas in its expansion draft last summer, arrived there as the promoted face of the new franchise. He missed several weeks earlier this season because of a concussion, but his numbers are stellar -- 15-4-2, 1.84 goals-against average, .939 save percentage.

He and the Golden Knights beat Pittsburgh 2-1 in their first meeting, but that was in Las Vegas.

It's expected to be an emotional return for Fleury to PPG Paints Arena after he won three Cups with the Penguins and set club records for wins (375), shutouts (44), playoffs wins (62) and postseason shutouts (10).

"It's going to be special," Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang said. "He was a big part of our team for a long time, a great teammate. He's a guy that was loved by the fans also. It's going to be an emotional night for him especially and for a bunch of guys who played with him for a long time."

If Fleury gives up a goal to his longtime close friend, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, it will stand as the 400th of Crosby's career.

Fleury will receive his latest Cup ring from the Penguins after Tuesday's morning skate, and the Penguins will air a tribute video to him during the game's first TV timeout.

"You always want to win, but I don't want to block everything out either," Fleury said. "It's going to be a special moment for me, playing the first game back here. I want remember it and remember my time here."

On the injury front, the Penguins announced Monday that forward Patric Hornqvist is week-to-week with a lower-body injury after being injured by a hit from defenseman Brooks Orpik in Friday's win over the Washington Capitals.

Hornqvist is fourth on the Penguins with 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) this season.

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No-NHL 2018 Olympics makes for unique preparation strategies

When Brian Gionta last played in the Olympics in 2006, his final NHL game before the break allowed him just three days to fly to Italy and get acclimated before suiting up for Team USA.

This time around, the semi-retired U.S. captain and his Olympic teammates will get four whole practice days before opening the tournament against Slovenia on Feb. 14.

''With the NHL setup, you fly over there, you have a small window to practice in and then you're right into the games,'' Gionta said. ''We've had the added benefit of being able to go over to the Deutschland Cup and be together for that week. A lot of the guys that were there are on the team and have a good understanding of each other. But I think that's a nice change, I guess, from previous Olympics.''

Still, the U.S. lost all three games at that tournament in November and didn't score more than two goals in any of them. Preparation under a new coach, learning the nuances and habits of new teammates are certainly key, but every men's hockey team going to South Korea is in a much different situation from any previous Olympics.

Before NHL players began participating in 1998, national teams were centralized and spent months together - much like women's teams do now. In contrast, the past five Olympics featured quick turnarounds when it came to training because so many players were also in the NHL, which decided this time around not to pause its 82-game regular season.

However, no NHL didn't automatically translate into more practice time as the teams were put together.

Almost everyone on an Olympic roster is playing professionally or in college, so there isn't much of an opportunity for training camps - though Canada, Russia and other countries are making the most of any time they have to get together. Russia's Kontinental Hockey League has its final games before the Olympic break Jan. 28, and other European leagues will release players shortly after that so they can prepare.

Chock full of stars from the KHL, including former NHL players Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, Russia should be the first to have its full team together and will play exhibition games in Moscow on Jan. 30 and Feb. 4. Canada is gathering as many players as possible in Latvia on Jan. 28 and will play two exhibition games there and one more in South Korea before the Olympics begin as it tries to win a third consecutive gold medal.

''We have access to our players very early, and we're going to take advantage of that,'' said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada's vice president of hockey operations and national teams. ''We're actually going to simulate the first two games of the Olympics with the ice times and the game times and try to get used to that kind of quick turnaround from a 9 p.m. game and a day off and a noon game.''

Sweden, which has a handful of former NHL players and projected 2018 No. 1 draft pick Rasmus Dahlin , will gather in Seoul for four days of practice before facing Canada on Feb. 12. The Czech Republic will hold training camp in Prague from Jan. 29-Feb. 6 before practicing in Seoul and playing an exhibition game against Finland on Feb. 11, while the Swiss are scheduled to play Germany in Kloten, Switzerland, on Feb. 6 and Norway in Goyang, South Korea, five days later.

USA Hockey general manager Jim Johannson said his team won't play any exhibition games with most U.S. players arriving in South Korea on Feb. 8. Johannson said the U.S. will practice Feb. 10-13 and get in a game-day skate Feb. 14, which coach Tony Granato feels will be enough preparation.

''We've all been parts of multiple tournaments like this, so we're not unfamiliar with them,'' said Granato, who played 49 games with the U.S. national team prior to the 1988 Olympics and currently coaches at the University of Wisconsin. ''A lot of the excitement and build-up leading up to it makes it that much better - you're going to get there, we're going to jump on the ice, we're going to practice and then a few days later we'll be center stage and ready to play.''

Seventeen of the 25 U.S. players were at the Deutschland Cup in November and won't be back on the ice together until nearly three months later. The U.S. women's team? They gathered in Florida in September, played a series of games against top Olympic rival Canada and have been together since.

''It's a huge bonus and a huge advantage to be together all year,'' forward Meghan Duggan said. ''(It's ) a difference from a world championship year, a non-Olympic year where we play with our pro teams and our club teams or college teams and get together for certain periods of time whether it be for world championships or Four Nations Cup or training camp.''

Canada's men's team took part in several Olympic tune-up tournaments for evaluation purposes. GM Sean Burke, who played in goal for Canada in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, is trying to make the most of this hybrid schedule to put coach Willie Desjardins and his team in the best position to succeed.

''We've had a lot of time to not only evaluate our players but have them together to do some team-building and we're going to get a good two-week training camp. I like the process,'' Burke said. ''Our coaching staff can really get down to working on our systems and having everything in place that they're comfortable with. That's a real nice luxury to have.''

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AP Sports Reporters Teresa M. Walker and James Ellingworth contributed.

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Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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Granlund nets hat trick, Dubnyk stellar in return vs. Predators

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Mikael Granlund had the second three-goal game of his career and Devan Dubnyk made 41 saves in his first start since Dec. 12 to help the Minnesota Wild beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba had a goal and assist for Minnesota, which has won two in a row coming out of the league's holiday break. Dumba scored the go-ahead goal, his seventh of the season, midway through the second period in the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series between the two teams.

Pekka Rinne made 34 saves, but Nashville lost for the fourth time in five games. P.K. Subban and Kyle Turris scored for the Predators.

Dubnyk made his return after missing six games with a lower-body injury. He wasn't tested much early as Nashville went the first 7:57 without a shot.

The Wild had the first 11 shots and Granlund scored 7:34 into the game to give Minnesota the early lead. Turris made a quick play to save a loose puck behind Rinne. But the errant pass went out to Dumba, who fed Granlund for a one-timer.

Rinne made several big saves to keep the game close before Subban tied the game with his eighth goal of the year in the first. Granlund added his 10th goal of the season less than a minute later on the power play for his third multi-goal game of the season.

Granlund scored an empty-net goal with 50.3 seconds for the hat trick.

The Wild set a season-high with 18 shots on goal in the first period. The Predators returned the favor with 18 shots in the second and held a 43-38 advantage in the game.

Minnesota (20-15-3) faced a critical stretch after the league's mandated holiday break with three games against divisional opponents. The Wild beat Dallas before the back-to-back against Nashville (22-10-5), which was leading the Central Division heading into Friday.

NOTES: Wild coach Bruce Boudreau left the bench with 5:44 left in the game, bleeding after taking a puck to the head. Assistant coach John Anderson took control for the remainder of the game. ... Zach Parise returned to Minnesota after a one-game conditioning assignment with Iowa of the American Hockey League. Parise has been out all season after undergoing back surgery on Oct. 24. He played 15:26 with one assist and one shot on goal for Iowa. ... Wild F Nino Niederreiter skated on Friday. He missed his third game with a lower-body injury. Boudreau was hopeful Niederreiter could return next week. . Nashville has been outshot 103-52 in the first period over the past seven games. ... Subban has four goals and five assists in his last eight games after going scoreless in seven straight.

UP NEXT

The two teams reunite for their home-and-home series Saturday in Nashville.

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USA-Canada outdoor game a go at world juniors

Bundle up, because the world junior hockey championship outdoor game between the United States and Canada is a go on Friday.

Tournament officials gave the go-ahead for the game to be played at the NFL Buffalo Bills’ New Era Field during a meeting Thursday. USA Hockey and organizing committee official Dave Fischer confirmed the decision in a text to The Associated Press.

The forecast for Friday’s game at 3 p.m. Eastern time calls for temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6 Celsius). The cold prompted some to wonder if the game might be relocated to Buffalo’s downtown KeyBank Center, where the majority of the 10-nation tournament is being played.

The preliminary-round game between the U.S. and Canada will be the first outdoor game played at the international level. The Canadians have won their first two tournament fixtures, while the Americans are 1-0 and face Denmark on Thursday night.

The United States is the defending champion after beating Canada in a shootout in January.

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Froese ends drought, helps Canadiens edge Flames

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Byron Froese scored for the first time in 22 months and had an assist to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Friday night.

Nicolas Deslauriers and Brendan Gallagher also scored and Carey Price made 21 saves in his 12th straight start since returning from a lower-body injury. The Canadiens are 8-3-1 since Price returned.

Froese opened the scoring midway through the first period when he deflected Jordie Benn's point shot past Mike Smith for his first goal since Feb. 20, 2016, when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Froese then assisted on Deslauriers' goal in the second.

Gallagher gave the Canadiens a 3-0 lead in the third, before the Flames made it close on goals by Micheal Ferland and Matthew Tkachuk.

NOTES: Froese has seven points (one goal, six assists) in eight games in December. ... Smith made 32 saves for Calgary. ... Montreal D Shea Weber (foot) returned after missing one game.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: At Edmonton on Saturday night.

Flames: At San Jose on Thursday night.

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