The two countries meet for a second straight game in Friday's semifinal. Canada beat Finland 6-2 to cap the preliminary round Tuesday.
"They were shaky. I've never seen them shaky against Finland before," Pasi Mustonen said.
Canadian head coach Doug Derraugh didn't bristle at Mustonen's assessment, however.
"I don't disagree with that completely," Derraugh said Thursday following practice at Malmo Isstadion. "I do think we stuck to the game plan really well. We were patient. We didn't execute as well as I would have liked."
Defending champion United States and Russia meet in Friday's other semifinal in what is also back-to-back meetings for those countries. The semifinal winners advance to the championship game and the losers play for the bronze medal Saturday.
Canada started slowly Tuesday against Finland and were outshot 6-5 in the opening period. Up 2-1 late in the second, Canada's attack began to solve Finland's frustrating defence.
The Finns now engage Canada in all three zones of the ice thanks to some puck-moving defenders. Prior to the 2014 Winter Games, they put all their efforts into defending their half of the ice and hoped for a lucky goal.
But Finland hasn't abandoned clogging up the middle lane and forcing shooters to the outside.
"For sure it's frustrating for us," Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin said. "We had trouble getting into the zone in the first period. We wanted to score right away.
"Patience is going to be key tomorrow. We know they have a great team in the first period and we have to put pressure on them right away. Put a lot of shots on net and we'll see what opens up."
Finland has never beaten Canada at the most senior level of international women's hockey. The closest they've come is a 6-6 tie in an exhibition game back in 1999, but they're capable of keeping the score close into the third period.
Canada needed an empty-net goal to beat them 3-1 at the Four Nations Cup in November. Finland last finished on the world championship podium in 2011 when they won bronze.
"We have a dream. It's a medal," Finland captain Jenni Hiirikoski said.
Finland's star forward Michelle Karvinen will be back in the lineup Friday. She did not play preliminary-round games against either Canada or the U.S. because of the flu, but had a goal and an assist in a 3-0 quarter-final win over Switzerland.
"She's better off now that she hasn't played that much," Mustonen said. "We need a lot of (minutes) from her with this speed we have to play against the North Americans."
Eveliina Suonpaa, 19, was in Finland's net Tuesday against Canada, but 25-year-old Meeri Raisenen has started all other games including the quarter-final. Veteran workhorse Noora Raty isn't playing for Finland in Malmo because of injury.
Derraugh said he'd decided on his starter, but wasn't revealing her name Thursday. Genevieve Lacasse of Kingston, Ont., made 15 saves against the Finns and 30 in a 4-2 loss to the U.S. to open the tournament.
Ann-Renee Desbiens of La Malbaie, Que., stopped 19 shots in a 4-0 shut out of Russia. Canada usually has an abundance of experience in goal, but none of the three goalies in Malmo had played a world championship game prior to this tournament.
The U.S. and Russia meet at noon local time Friday followed by a 4 p.m. start for Canada and Finland. The winner of the latter semifinal will have less than 24 hours to recover before the gold-medal game.
"They're a great team so we're going to have to come out and play our best to be able to win that game," Canadian forward Rebecca Johnston said.
"That's really important for us moving forward if we make it to the finals, having that hard-fought battle win, will just help prepare us more for the final."Suggest a correction