By John Vogl
Alexander Ovechkin was willing to give up his NHL career in order to lead host Russia to an Olympic medal. He didn't have to leave Washington, but he's not getting a medal, either.
Russia completed its third straight disappointing Olympics this morning with a 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland. The NHL agreed to go to the Sochi Games in part because Ovechkin said he was going no matter what, but it turned out to be a wasted trip.
Russia will be medal-less for the third Olympics in a row after Finland beat goaltender Semyon Varlamov three times on 15 shots. The Russians replaced Colorado's netminder with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, but it didn't matter because the hosts beat Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask just once on 38 shots.
Russia opened the scoring with a power-play goal by Ilya Kovalchuk with 7:51 gone, but Finland answered before the end of the first period with goals by Juhamatti Aaltonen and Teemu Selanne. Mikael Grandlund scored early in the second to give the Finns a two-goal cushion.
Finland will face Sweden in the semifinals Friday. Sweden scored four times in the third period to pull away from Slovenia, 5-0. Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves for the shutout.
The other semifinal will be determined this afternoon. The United States plays Czech Republic, while Canada faces Ted Nolan, Zemgus Girgensons and Latvia. Both games are at noon Eastern time, and the winners will face each other.