Although hometown hero Lucas Raymond scored again in front of the Swedish crowd, the Red Wings suffered their second loss in as many games at Stockholm’s Avicii Arena on Friday, falling 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The fans were again divided into two teams, the blue and red jerseys were divided almost equally. Even a local kid who was the Leafs best player.
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William Nylander scored three points, including the tying goal midway through the third period. Under the eyes of his father Michael, a former National League player, and nearly a hundred relatives, the winger equalized when his shot was deflected by an opponent in front of the net.
Eighty-four seconds later, John Tavares scored the winning goal off a very nice cross from Tyler Bertuzzi. It was the latter that started Toronto’s comeback early in the third period.
The Red Wings, who were close to an incredible comeback against the Ottawa Senators the day before, this time took a two-goal lead in the middle of the period. Daniel Sprong used a penalty kick – serving a cup of coffee to Ilya Samsonov – to break the ice, and then Raymond shook the ropes.
Several Swedish legends attended the meeting, including former Detroit teammates Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall. Both enjoyed the performance, especially Sprong’s goal, which delighted the crowd.
If Nicklas Lidstrom took over the ceremonial confrontation, this time the organizers decided to send Börje Salming’s son, Anders, to the ice. The former Leafs and Wings player, one of the first European players to make the jump to the National League, died a year ago from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The Leafs will remain in Sweden for one more game, Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.