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NHL Global Series in Sweden

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In a showcase of international ice hockey fervor, the 2023 NHL Global Series took center stage in Stockholm, Sweden, from Nov. 16 to 19. Hosted at Avicii Arena, this four-day spectacle featured matchups between the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Maple Leafs. The weekend games drew in an impressive crowd of over 52,000 fans from around the world. 

Game #1 – DET vs. OTT 

In a thrilling start to the series, the Ottawa Senators secured a dramatic 5-4 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 16. 

Ottawa took an early lead, scoring four goals in the first and second periods. Many fans thought the game might turn into a blowout; however, Detroit was quick to answer. The Red Wings responded swiftly, finding the back of the net four times in less than eight minutes during the second period—an accomplishment that marked them as the first team to achieve such scoring in a single period during a regular-season game played outside of North America.

Fueling Detroit's scoring surge was defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a Florida native fresh off a season with the Carolina Hurricanes, who contributed a goal and two points. Ottawa's offensive prowess was led by Brady Tkachuk, who notched two goals, and Josh Norris and Jake Sanderson, each contributing a goal and an assist.

Despite a remarkable comeback by the Red Wings, Tim Stützle emerged as the hero, scoring with just two seconds remaining in overtime to give Ottawa the win. Stützle swatted the game-winner off of a centering pass from winger Drake Batherson. 

"I never really played [baseball] growing up," Stützle said. "I think it was pretty lucky, I knew we didn't have a lot of time there left and I just tried to get it on the net. It was a great play there by [Batherson] to get it to me."

Game #2 – DET vs. TOR

Photo courtesy Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

On Friday, the Toronto Maple Leafs orchestrated a remarkable comeback, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. 

The game held special significance for Toronto forward William Nylander, who made a highly anticipated return to Sweden. Nylander's enthusiasm was evident as he revealed that he had purchased nearly 100 tickets to the Global Series games for friends and family members, many of whom have yet to see him play at the NHL level. 

Nylander's on-ice performance lived up to the anticipation, delivering an impressive showcase that included a goal and two assists against the Red Wings. The Maple Leafs found themselves trailing 2-0 in the third period, but Nylander played a pivotal role in the comeback, notching a power-play goal that leveled the score at 2-2. This set the stage for Maple Leafs' captain, John Tavares, whose go-ahead goal extended his point streak to four games.

Tyler Bertuzzi also made significant contributions, showcasing his skills with a goal and an assist, further fueling Toronto's third consecutive win. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov played a crucial role between the pipes, making 27 saves to secure the victory for the Maple Leafs.

Adding to the narrative, Detroit's netminder Alex Lyon made his season debut on Friday. Lyon had not seen game action since June 5, when he was part of the Florida Panthers goalie tandem during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite Lyon's 26 saves, the Red Wings couldn't fend off Toronto's comeback.

This victory marked Toronto's third consecutive win, further solidifying their standing in the league. 

Game #3 – MIN vs. OTT 

In the third game of the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden, the Ottawa Senators secured a hard-fought 2-1 shootout victory against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. 

Ottawa goaltender Anton Forsberg played a pivotal role in this game, making 24 saves, including a crucial stop on a penalty shot. Forsberg not only showcased his skills between the pipes but also contributed offensively with an assist. 

Ottawa's Erik Brannstrom, a native of Eksjo, Sweden, scored the game-tying goal in his 200th NHL game, emphasizing the team's commitment to a strong defensive performance. Despite Minnesota's Marcus Johansson earning a penalty shot, Forsberg's solid goaltending kept the score level.

For the Wild, Filip Gustavsson, hailing from Skelleftea, Sweden, demonstrated resilience in goal, making 30 saves. He received praise from coach Dean Evason despite the team's 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators. 

"Gustavsson was real good. When he had to be, he was there,” Evason said. “I agree, he looked very calm, wasn't out of position, and most of the saves were smothered. He definitely looked more like himself for sure."

Gustavsson has let in 17 goals in the last four games and has not won since Minnesota’s 7-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 24. 

The Senators' resilient performance and Forsberg's stellar goaltending propelled them to a shootout win and marked their third consecutive victory. 

Game #4 – MIN vs. TOR

Photo courtesy Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

In a captivating conclusion to the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden, the Toronto Maple Leafs emerged victorious in a 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild. 

The Maple Leafs, riding a wave of momentum, secured their fourth consecutive win with goals contributed by key players. 

Auston Matthews, whose 14 goals currently tie for the NHL lead, found the back of the net on the power play, while Matthew Knies and Morgan Rielly also added to the scoresheet. Nylander's primary assist on Matthews' power-play goal not only showcased their chemistry but also tied him with Connor McDavid for the longest season-opening point streak by an active NHL player, previously set in the 2021-22 season.

Nylander stole the spotlight by not only extending his point streak to an impressive 17 games but also delivering the game-winning goal in overtime, along with an additional assist. 

Mitchell Marner, a linchpin in the Maple Leafs' offensive prowess, reached a milestone by notching his 400th NHL career assist. Marner's contributions to Rielly's goal and Knies' goal demonstrated his playmaking prowess, making him the third-fastest active player to reach 400 assists.

The Wild, despite a valiant effort, experienced their fifth consecutive loss, including a shootout defeat to the Ottawa Senators the previous day. Despite making 21 saves, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't secure the win for Minnesota. 

From dramatic overtime victories to impressive comebacks, the series showcased the skill, resilience, and global appeal of NHL teams. The event not only delighted fans worldwide but also highlighted the growing popularity of hockey beyond North American borders. As the final buzzer sounded, the Global Series left an indelible mark on Swedish and international hockey enthusiasts, fostering camaraderie among players and enhancing the sport's global legacy.

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