Maple Leafs, Red Wings excited to face off in Sweden

Playing in Sweden during his NHL career is something that William Nylander never expected.He’s one of five Toronto Maple Leafs of Swedish heritage who will face the Detroit Red Wings in Stockholm on Friday. The Leafs will be playing the first of two games in Global Series Sweden.”It’s been a dream to come back here and play. I didn’t think that would happen in my career, to play NHL games in Sweden. So that’s going to be very special,” Nylander said. “It’s great for team building to get out here. And we’ll do some things together while we’re here, so I think that will be very good for the team.”Toronto, which faces Minnesota on Sunday before returning home, hasn’t played since a 5-2 home victory over Vancouver. Nylander scored his 10th goal in the contest, giving him a team-best 22 points.”Knowing Will, he likes to keep the focus on the hockey,” coach Sheldon Keefe said. “He’ll get his obligations out of the way and all that, and I know all our Swedish guys especially would be excited to play on the weekend.”Toronto arrived in Sweden on Tuesday, so the players have had time to enjoy the sights before getting down to business on Friday.”You see the guys back in their home country, just the smiles and everything. I’ve found the Swedish guys are a really tight-knit group. We kind of joke around with them about it a bit,” forward Auston Matthews said. “I’m sure this is a really cool experience for them.”The Red Wings played their Global Series opener on Thursday. Detroit trailed Ottawa 4-0 midway through the second period, knotted the score before the period ended, then lost in overtime 5-4.Lucas Raymond, the lone Swede on Detroit’s roster, started the comeback with a breakaway goal.