He took a pass below the face-off dot from defenseman Moritz Seider to the right of Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov. After getting the puck, he took one look at the net and unleashed a wicked wrist shot that beat Samsonov clean over the glove. Once the crowd realized it was Raymond who scored, Avicii Arena erupted in loud cheers.
But Nylander, who was looking to extend his franchise-record season-opening point streak to 16 games, got the Maple Leafs going when he assisted on Tyler Bertuzzi’s goal at 3:50 of the third. Nylander collected the puck near the blue line, pulled a sharp turn to lose Red Wings forward Andrew Copp, skated down the left side and slid the puck into the crease where Bertuzzi redirected it into the net.
“Probably, most disappointing was the first goal against,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “I think that was preventable. It starts with a turnover from below our offensive goal line and then we had a blowup in the [defensive] zone in the back of our net, and they get a little bit of a push out of it.”
It didn’t help that the Red Wings, playing the second half of a back-to-back, had to play most of the second half of the game with five defensemen after Jake Walman left with 7:30 remaining in the second period after crashing into the net. There was no update on Walman after the game.
“A little fatigue was setting in, the brains probably shutting off a little bit, but the five [defensemen] created an issue for us,” Lalonde said. “Obviously, they are playing their top guys down the stretch to create some matchup problems.”
Nylander, who was born in Calgary but has Swedish citizenship and has played for the Sweden national team, tied the game at 13:03 of the third period, with Seider in the penalty box for tripping, on a one-timer from the slot off a beautiful feed from Mitchell Marner.
Nylander then had the secondary assist on John Tavares’ winning goal at 14:27.
“We took the late penalty,” Lalonde said. “Obviously our best [defenseman] in the box and they get one there and it’s an unfortunate ending.”
Lost in the defeat was the play of goalie Alex Lyon, who was playing in his first game since Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final for the Florida Panthers last June.
Lyon made 26 saves one night after James Reimer made 29 saves. They both were pressed into action because No. 1 goalie Ville Husso is back in Detroit following the birth of his daughter.
“He was unbelievable, he was unbelievable,” Raymond said of Lyon. “He saved us a lot of times, he played with poise. He hadn’t played in a while, so the way he played tonight was awesome. Wish we could have gotten a win for him.”
The Red Wings now head home with an 8-6-3 record that has them fourth in the tightening Atlantic Division. They also bring home memories from a special week in this historic city but know it could’ve been more.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” forward David Perron said. “I think for Lucas, he played pretty good hockey, scoring two goals in his home country. That has to be pretty special for him.
“We’re happy about that. Getting a point for our team yesterday was good, but obviously it could have been a very special week if we had won.”