After missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for an eighth straight year, the Carolina Hurricanes had seven players compete in the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
Four wound up with gold medals draped around their necks Sunday — forwards Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask and Joakim Nordstrom, and goalie Eddie Lack of Sweden. Jeff Skinner of Canada finished with a silver.
Canada was favored to win a third straight championship in the Worlds. Canes coach Bill Peters was an assistant coach for Team Canada when it won in 2015, then the head coach for Canada — albeit minus Skinner — a year ago, returning to Raleigh with gold.
But the Swedes won the gold-medal game 2-1 Sunday in a shootout, at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany. Forward William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs was named the MVP of the tournament, and Lindholm, Rask and Nordstrom gave the Swedes good, consistent play and hustle throughout the Worlds -- Rask and Lindholm often used on the same line.
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Canes forward Sebastian Aho of Finland and defenseman Noah Hanifin of Team USA were denied medals. The Finns ousted the U.S. 2-0 in the quarterfinals, then were beaten 4-1 by Sweden in the semifinals.
Russia took third place and the bronze medal Sunday with a 5-3 win over Finland, although Aho, who had two assists, was named Finland’s player of the game.
In the gold-medal game, Sweden scored on a shorthanded goal by Victor Hedman late in the second period and Canada on a power-play goal by Ryan O’Reilly in the third. After a 20-minute overtime period, the gold medals were decided in a shootout.
Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored shootout goals for Sweden and goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped the four shots he faced. Lundqvist was named Sweden’s player of the game and goalie Calvin Pickard was chosen Canada’s player of the game.
Aho finished the tournament with 11 points in 10 games, with two goals and nine assists. Skinner, who turned 25 during the tournament, had four goals and five assists in 10 games for Canada.
Lindholm and Rask each had seven points for Sweden — Lindholm with five goals and two assists, Rask with two goals and five assists. Nordstrom had a goal in the semifinals against Finland and followed it up with a strong two-way game Sunday.
Lack had a 19-save, 2-0 shutout of Latvia in his only start and was used as a backup.