Oliver Kapanen earns player of the game honours against Great Britain

Oliver Kapanen was relentless on the puck and made his office on top of Great Britain's crease for much of the game.

One of the Montreal Canadiens best kept secrets is Oliver Kapanen. 

The Finnish centre has all the tools to become a good top-nine NHL centre in the future. Kapanen plays a speedy game, utilizing his high hockey IQ and deft puck skills to succeed. While he isn’t a big-time goal scorer, he does have some solid offensive traits and when given the opportunity he can put the puck in the net. 

On Sunday morning, Kapanen and Team Finland beat the rails off Team Britain. The Finns are known as a powerhouse, certainly as one of the top five teams in the tournament. And Kapanen is the young gun, but he put on a show a show scoring a hat-trick in the 8-0 win.

Kapanen was named Finland’s player of the game for his efforts. It’s never easy to score one goal, even if the competition is lesser, but three goals is impressive. And what Kapanen did away from the puck, playing a responsible two-way game, cemented the decision.

Kapanen kicked off his scoring with a tip on a point shot. Now, it shouldn’t be mulled over too much and it’s not an overreaction. Simply put, Kapanen went to the place where you create offence and did exactly that. 

Kapanen’s second tally was a result of his nose for the net and an ability to get lost behind coverage. He received a quick pass from behind the net and while he needed three attempts to pot the goal, he was relentless on the puck. If you go to the dirty areas, good things happen.

Kapanen’s third goal was eerily similar to his first of the night. He went to the net front, screened the goalie and pivoted his body to keep his stick free to create havoc. He got his stick on the puck and made a great play. 

To be considered, this was just his second game of the tournament, and while Britain isn't the stiffest of competition, Kapanen has been on quite a roll. Finland isn't loaded with all of the best countrymen, but he is amongst some quality NHLers and is keeping pace. The future is bright for the Canadiens, with Kapanen and Owen Beck close to being ready to make their NHL case, the centre core is in good hands.