STOCKHOLM -- D.J. Smith said he told his players before the game Saturday that the Ottawa Senators could defeat the Minnesota Wild 2-1.
That’s exactly what happened at Avicii Arena in the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden presented by Fastenal, thanks to Josh Norris scoring in the shootout.
What the Senators coach didn’t predict, however, was that his team’s key offensive play in regulation would come from the unlikeliest of sources.
From 2009-13, Ottawa showcased one of the most lethal Swedish offensive combinations in forward Daniel Alfredsson and defenseman Erik Karlsson. Alfredsson is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Karlsson might very well end up there one day too.
Both came into the game with zero goals this season. In Forsberg’s case, that’s not a surprise, considering the position he plays.
As for Brannstrom, he came in with four goals in 199 NHL games.
Yet, in the end, they pretty much salvaged the game for the Senators.
With Ottawa trailing 1-0 early in the third period after a Marco Rossi goal in the second, Forsberg found himself about to handle the puck in front of his net. When he looked up, he saw the Wild were in the midst of a line change.
Acting quickly, he delivered a perfect feed to Brannstrom at the Minnesota blue line. The defenseman took it from there, beating Filip Gustavsson from high in the left face-off circle at 3:22 to set up Norris’ shootout winner.