The NHL’s Global Series, happening this week in Sweden, is designed to help promote and showcase the league to European hockey fans. And the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings certainly put on a show Thursday, giving Stockholm fans more than their money’s worth.
The back-and-forth game featured plenty of scoring and very little defence, which fans worldwide generally love. Ottawa jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then collapsed, allowing four goals in eight minutes in the second period.
The game went to overtime, still tied at 4, and in the dying moments, Senators star winger Tim Stutzle scored the dazzling game-winning goal the entire hockey world is buzzing about today. Stutzle knocked the puck out of mid-air, over goalie James Reimer’s head, and into the top corner of the net.
Stutzle joked that he had never played baseball before. But the goal was reminiscent of his very first goal in the NHL when he looked like a batter who managed to hit a bad pitch in the dirt.
Despite the game’s superb end-to-end action and excitement, neither team played the kind of defence they’ll need if they’re to end their respective playoff droughts in the spring. Detroit has missed the playoffs for seven straight years, and Ottawa has missed them for six consecutive years. Those are the second and third-longest post-season absences in the NHL.
But if the goal was to excite and sell the game to European hockey fans, then “mission accomplished.”