Defenceman Erik Johnson, centre, had a goal and assist to lead the United States to a bronze medal. ((Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press))

Defenceman Erik Johnson gave St. Louis Blues fans a glimpse of the future and it looks very bright.

The NHL's first overall pick last summer fired the winning goal and added an assist Friday to give the United States a 2-1 win over host Sweden in the bronze-medal game at the world junior hockey championship.

Johnson snapped a low shot to the corner that eluded goaltender Joel Gistedt at 12:34 of the second period to give the Americans their first bronze in five tries at the world juniors.

He also set up Patrick Kane's fifth goal in as many games to move into a tie for the tournament scoring lead with 10 points.

With the loss, the Swedes have gone 11 years without a world junior medal.

The U.S. rebounded from Wednesday's crushing 2-1 shootout loss in the semifinals to Canada, which meets Russia in the gold-medal game later Friday.

Down 2-1, Sweden had a glorious chance to tie the game midway through the third period with a two-man advantage for more than a minute, but couldn't beat U.S. goalie Jeff Frazee.

Forward Justin Abdelkader was also effective in shutting down Nicklas Backstrom, Sweden's top scorer.Backstrom hurt his team's chancesby serving 12 minutes in the penalty box in the third period for drilling Jack Skille into the boards head first.

Backstrom, though, did figure in the Swedes' lone goal. He worked a give-and-go with Patrik Zackrisson, who wired a shot to the corner for his first goal of the tourney at the nine-minute mark of the second period.

Kane opened the scoring with five seconds left in first when he swatted ata bouncing puck and put it past a fallen Gistedt.

Despite spending 10 days in Leksand,the London Knights right-wingeronly trails Belleville's Tyler Donati by four points in the Ontario Hockey League scoring race.

Kane shone in Sweden and no doubt raised his stock for the NHL draft in June in Columbus.He is also one of nine players eligible to return to theAmerican squad.

The U.S. squeezed its way into this year's medal round with a 3-2 overtime win over Sweden on Dec. 31.

The 2008 world juniors will be held in Liberec and Pardubice, Czech Republic.