While every NHL player would likely prefer to be playing for the Stanley Cup this time of year, some of those who were eliminated from the race for the coveted trophy won a bronze medal for their country Sunday.
The United States defeated Canada 4-1 to win the bronze medal at the world ice hockey championship. Chris Kreider scored two goals, one of which was an empty-netter near the end, but it was Nick Bonino who put the Americans ahead for good with a power-play goal off a rebound in the third period.
Anders Lee scored the other goal for the Red, White and Blue.
It was an impressive bounce-back performance from the United States after it was blown out 6-0 against Sweden in the semifinals. Canada dropped into the bronze-medal game when it lost to Switzerland 3-2 in the other semi.
It was a disappointing showing for Canada, which won bronze in men's hockey and silver in women's hockey at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Expectations were high with a number of marquee playmakers, including two-time defending Art Ross Trophy winner Connor McDavid. The Edmonton Oilers star couldn't lead Canada to a medal, though, in stark contrast to Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane and his role with the Americans.
Kane tallied an assist in the bronze-medal contest and finished the tournament with a head-turning eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. The AP noted he was the first player to post 20 points in the tournament since 2008.
"It's important for the team but it's also important for USA Hockey," Kane said, per the AP (via ESPN.com). "Now we can build up off this level and try to keep being better and better."
Sweden and Switzerland will face off for the gold medal Sunday.