If there is one NHL player at the Sochi Olympics that isn't going to want to go back to the professional league's smaller ice surface, it just might be Austria's Michael Grabner.
After scoring just nine goals in 60 games for the New York Islanders this season, Grabner finished group play at the Olympics with five goals. For the time of the games, he is leading the entire tournament in goal scoring after his two-goal effort in Austria's 3-1 win over Norway on Sunday.
He very nearly completed his second hat trick of the tournament in the closing minutes, when he had his third breakaway of the day.
The win was Austria's first in Olympic competition since the 2002 games in Salt Lake City when it defeated Slovakia in the preliminary round. On Sunday, they needed a strong performance from goalie Mathias Lange, as he stopped 34 of 35 shots -- and helped Austria kill off six penalties -- in what was his first-ever Olympic start.
While Lange was standing tall in net (and even shaking off a big hit in the second period when he was accidentally run over by his own teammate) Austria's three NHL players -- Grabner, Thomas Vanek and Michael Raffl -- spent some time on Sunday on the same line, something they had not done much over the previous two games of the tournament.
Loading up all of their talent on the same line seemed to work, at least early on, as Norway didn't have any combination of players capable of matching up.
Grabner opened the scoring in the first period when he finished a gorgeous pass from Thomas Pock for his fourth goal of the tournament. Two minutes later, Grabner added his first assist when he set up Raffl's first goal of the tournament.
He finished the scoring late in the third period on a breakaway.
Austria finished preliminary round play with a 1-2 record while Norway went winless for the second straight Olympics.