U.S. downs Canada to capture bronze at World Championship

Team USA defeated Team Canada 4-1 on Sunday to claim the bronze medal at the World Championship.

After a 0-0 first period, New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider opened the scoring for the Americans midway through the middle frame, notching his ninth point of the tournament when he picked up a turnover courtesy of Canada's Connor McDavid before tucking the puck past netminder Curtis McElhinney.

Canada got on the board with less than two minutes remaining in the second period, as San Jose Sharks blue-liner Marc-Edouard Vlasic slipped into the offensive zone to bury one by American goaltender Keith Kinkaid.

A power-play marker by U.S. forward Nick Bonino with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period sealed the victory for the Americans, as he knocked a backhand rebound by McElhinney.

Anders Lee and Kreider added a pair of empty-netters to bump the final score to 4-1. Kreider was named Player of the Game for the Americans, while McElhinney took home the same honor for Canada.

The bronze marks Team USA's first medal finish at the World Championship since 2015, when the Americans defeated the Czech Republic to capture third place. The United States has not played in the gold medal game since 1960.

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Top 50 pending UFAs: 10-1

With July 1 less than two months away, theScore takes a look at the top 50 pending unrestricted free agents heading into the start of free agency.

10-1 | 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

Stats legend:
GV = Giveaways
TK = Takeaways
ATOI = Average time on ice per game
CF% = Percentage of shot attempts team took while player was on the ice at even strength
(Rel) = CF% of player compared to when he's not on the ice

10. Mike Green

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $6M
2017-18 team: Red Wings

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
66 8 25 33 68 29 22:05 47.8 (-1.2)

Green's best days are likely over, but as a right-handed shooting defenseman in a thin free-agent pool, he'll have a list of teams lining up to sign him. He can still play second-pairing minutes with a sturdy partner, and can quarterback a power play efficiently.

9. Joe Thornton

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 38
2017-18 cap hit: $8M
2017-18 team: Sharks

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
47 13 23 36 55 33 18:21 54.4 (+3.4)

Thornton will be 39 on July 2 and tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee (2016-17) and right knee (2017-18) over the last two seasons. A return to the Sharks on a one-year deal with a significant pay cut seems likely. However, if he does leave San Jose, you can bet a few contending teams will overlook his mileage while offering him a deal as a second- or third-line center.

8. Carter Hutton

Position: Goaltender
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $1.125M
2017-18 team: Blues

GP Rec. GAA SV% SO
32 26-17-7 2.09 .931 3

Hutton chose a great time to have a career year. He'll be by far the best goalie available, and at 32, it's possible teams will still view him as a short-term No. 1, even though Hutton has never handled a starter's workload. The Sabres, Flyers, and Islanders are among the clubs that could give him a shot as an undisputed starter.

7. David Perron

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $3.75M
2017-18 team: Golden Knights

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
70 16 50 66 33 48 17:49 49.7 (-1.7)

Perron is also coming off a career-best campaign. The 2017-18 season was his first 60-point year, a mark reached even while missing 12 games. Returning to Vegas seems to be his best option to replicate that success, but he'll be looking to cash in as the third-highest scorer among UFAs.

6. James Neal

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 30
2017-18 cap hit: $5M
2017-18 team: Golden Knights

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
71 25 19 44 32 49 17:11 51.5 (+0.4)

Even though Perron had 22 more points than Neal, the latter is an accomplished pure goal-scorer and will likely generate more interest. He's potted 20-plus goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons, and that type of consistent production could lead to a larger-than-expected contract for the 30-year-old winger.

5. James van Riemsdyk

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 29
2017-18 cap hit: $4.25M
2017-18 team: Maple Leafs

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
81 36 18 54 38 30 14:54 55.6 (+7.4)

Van Riemsdyk is a one-dimensional player, but he does that one dimension better than anybody in the league. Nobody deflects pucks and provides a better net-front presence than JVR, as he finished third in goals per 60 minutes during the 2017-18 season, according to Natural Stat Trick. However, his lack of ice time was due to defensive flaws despite a high CF percentage, which can be attributed to his 62.7 offensive-zone start percentage. Regardless, Van Riemsdyk will get paid handsomely for his scoring prowess.

4. Paul Stastny

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 32
2017-18 cap hit: $7M
2017-18 teams: Blues/Jets

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 16 37 53 19 43 18:18 54.2 (+3.8)

Stastny is boosting his already high value with an impressive playoff run with the Jets. He's an incredibly smart player, and his age won't be a deal breaker because of the demand for centers. Born in Quebec City while his father was playing for the Nordiques, Stastny should be an obvious target for the center-needy Canadiens if they whiff on John Tavares.

3. Evander Kane

Position: Left wing
Age on July 1: 26
2017-18 cap hit: $5.25M
2017-18 teams: Sabres/Sharks

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
78 29 25 54 50 40 19:35 51.5 (+5.0)

Kane is the youngest UFA on this top-50 list, and is a rugged, physical winger with annual 30-goal potential. He recorded nine goals and 14 points in 17 games after joining the Sharks, providing a glimpse of the untapped potential he can provide on a good team. Even some previous character issues shouldn't get in the way of Kane's search for a massive contract this offseason.

2. John Carlson

Position: Defense
Age on July 1: 28
2017-18 cap hit: $3.97
2017-18 team: Capitals

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 15 53 68 97 58 24:47 49.2 (+1.7)

Carlson thrived during his contract year, leading all defenseman with 68 points, but it's highly unlikely he'll approach that mark on another team. He also notched 32 power-play points, largely by feeding Alex Ovechkin one-timers and by taking advantage of ample time and space as opponents shadowed the Russian superstar. Whoever signs Carlson will be paying for a No. 1 defenseman, but it's worth noting top-line matchup responsibilities actually fell on Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen in Washington.

1. John Tavares

Position: Center
Age on July 1: 27
2017-18 cap hit: $5.5M
2017-18 team: Islanders

GP G A P GV TK ATOI CF% (rel)
82 37 47 84 78 49 19:56 49.4 (-2.6)

NHL megastars rarely get to free agency. So, unless Tavares re-signs with the Islanders before July 1, he'll be the best player to hit the open market in recent memory. He's in the prime of his career, and will be paid accordingly. The contract probably won't challenge Connor McDavid's league-high $12.5-million cap hit, but if teams get into a bidding war for their potential franchise player, anything is possible.

(Salary information courtesy: Cap Friendly)

(Stats courtesy: Hockey Reference)

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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Niskanen takes responsibility for every Lightning goal in Game 5

Matt Niskanen took the blame for all three Tampa Bay Lightning goals in the Washington Capitals' Game 5 loss on Saturday night.

The Capitals defenseman picked his performance apart after Tampa Bay prevailed 3-2 to move within a win of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s pinballing around in the neutral zone there, I stepped up, didn’t get the man or the puck, they got a 2-on-1 out of it and scored,” Niskanen told reporters, via Sportsnet, in reference to the Lightning’s goal in the opening minute.

“(The) first three goals (were) all my fault," Niskanen added. "I had a tough first 20 minutes and 30 seconds. So I’ve got to be better next game.”

He had a point.

Niskanen failed to prevent Ryan Callahan from chipping the puck into the Capitals' defensive zone before Cedric Paquette opened the scoring 19 seconds in, screened Braden Holtby on Ondrej Palat's marker that gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead later in the opening frame, and then allowed Anton Stralman to blow past him before Callahan banged in the goal that made it 3-0 at the 33-second mark of the second period.

Granted, other Capitals players made mistakes on those goals, and Niskanen kept them in the game with a shot that was deflected in by Evgeny Kuznetsov about four minutes later.

Despite his early miscues, Niskanen actually drove possession at 5-on-5 with a 51.61 Corsi For percentage, but he posted a Scoring Chances For rate of only 28.57 percent in those situations, according to Natural Stat Trick.

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Lightning hold off late Capitals charge in Game 5 to put them on the brink

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Cedric Paquette scored in the opening minute and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots to help the Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan also scored as the home team won for the first time in the best-of-seven matchup, with the Lightning taking a 3-2 series lead and moving within one victory of advancing the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons.

The Capitals, in the conference final for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era, have lost three straight after winning twice on the road to begin the series.

Ovechkin scored with 1:36 remaining, trimming what once was a three-goal lead to one, however Vasiliveskiy made three more saves down the stretch to finish the victory.

Game 6 is Monday night in Washington, where Tampa Bay has already won to improve to 5-1 on the road this postseason.

The Capitals won the first two games on the road, scoring 10 goals on Vezina Trophy finalist Vasilevskiy and sending the Lightning - won had the best record in the East during the regular season - into desperation mode.

Tampa Bay responded by winning Game 3 in Washington, evening the series despite being outshot and outplayed for sizeable stretches of a 4-2 victory in Game 4 and returning home, where coach Jon Cooper was confident the Lightning would be better than they were in the first two games.

Turns out Cooper was right.

Washington's Dmitry Orlov turned the puck over in the neutral zone on the opening shift of the night and Callahan made the Caps pay for the mistake, feeding Paquette for a 1-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game.

Palat's second goal of the series made it 2-0. Tampa Bay extended the advantage to three goals when Callahan scored 33 seconds into the second period.

Outshot 13-4 and limited to one scoring opportunity in the opening period, the Caps began to put some pressure on Vasilevskiy in the second.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal in his fourth straight game, giving him a franchise single-year, playoff-best 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) and trimming Washington's deficit to 3-1 at 4:21 of the period.

The Capitals kept pressing in the third period, but didn't breakthrough against until Ovechkin scored his 11th goal this postseason.

Notes: The road team won each of the first four games of a series for the sixth time in the last 10 years and 26th time in Stanley Cup playoffs history. Under that scenario, the road team has won Game 5 only three times. ... Paquette's goal was his first in the playoffs since Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, ending a 34-game drought for the 24-year-old center. ... At 19 seconds of the opening period, Palat's goal was not the fastest to start a game in Lightning history. Adam Hall scored for Tampa Bay 13 seconds into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against Boston in 2011. ... Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky was a game-time scratch.

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Jets sign goalie who went viral for celebration after scoring in USHL

Remember that Sioux Falls Stampede goaltender who celebrated in hilarious fashion after scoring from behind his own net back in November?

Well, the Winnipeg Jets gave him a three-year, entry-level contract Saturday.

Mikhail Berdin is the netminder who, as you may recall, did this:

Berdin went 24-13-3 with a .921 save percentage in 45 regular-season games for the Stampede in 2017-18. He allowed 14 goals in three playoff contests.

The 20-year-old Russian was a sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2016.

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Report: Rangers to hire Boston University’s David Quinn as head coach

The New York Rangers will hire Boston University's David Quinn as their next head coach, Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic reports.

There are still details to work out, however, and an official announcement isn't expected until Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton returns from scouting the World Championship in Denmark, Carpiniello adds.

Quinn will replace the recently fired Alain Vigneault, and is expected to sign a five-year contract worth approximately $12.5 million for his first NHL head coaching gig.

The 51-year-old had spent the last five seasons behind the bench as coach of the Terriers, accumulating a record of 105-67-51 in that span while winning the Hockey East and finishing as NCAA runners up in 2014-15.

The Rangers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 this season, and formally announced an impending rebuild over the winter. With a head coach reported to be in place, the organizational focus will shift to the draft, where New York owns three first-round picks.

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Switzerland stuns Canada in massive upset to advance to gold-medal game

Switzerland pulled off a massive upset Saturday at the World Championship, defeating Canada in the semifinals 3-2 to advance to the gold-medal game against Sweden on Sunday.

Swiss goaltender Leonardo Genoni was sensational, making 44 saves and leaving a Canadian squad full of NHL stars shaking their heads as they went to the bench after each failed scoring attempt.

In the crease opposite Genoni, Darcy Kuemper's performance was lackluster. He allowed three goals on just 16 shots.

The Swiss offense was stuck in neutral in the third period, as it had only one shot compared to Canada's 18. That lone shot - a redirect from Gaetan Haas on a wrister that was going wide - turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Despite the one-sided final frame, Switzerland weathered the storm in its own end. Canada got within a goal after Colton Parayko's tally with two minutes left, but no closer.

This marks the first time in four years that the Canadians won't play for gold at the worlds. They'll take on the United States at 9:45 a.m. ET on Sunday for the bronze medal.

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