STOCKHOLM -- It would have been the stuff of legend had Tim Stützle, whose baseball swat overtime goal had just given him hero’s status, grown up in Viersen, Germany, dreaming of being the next Albert Pujols, the next Mike Trout, the next Mookie Betts.

It would have made for a great story.

It also would have been wrong.


“To be honest, I hate watching baseball,” Stutzle said after the Ottawa Senators’ thrilling 5-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Avicii Arena on Thursday. “I think it’s pretty boring.”

He could have fooled us, given his solid contact of the puck out of midair that beat Red Wings goalie James Reimer with two seconds remaining in what proved to be a wild and wacky curtain-raiser to the 2023 Global Series Sweden presented by Fastenal.

As Stutzle was making those comments, Brady Tkachuk, seated next to him in the postgame press conference, stared at his teammate with disbelief. With Tkachuk having grown up in St. Louis watching Pujols star for the Cardinals, Stutzle’s take was sporting blasphemy for the Senators captain, who then analyzed Stutzle’s technique on the winner.

“Choked up on it and followed through,” Tkachuk said, using baseball parlance before breaking into a mischievous grin.

“I saw a lot of home runs in Busch Stadium when I was younger. And to see that (goal), that was unreal.”

Much like the entire evening seemed to be.

On a dramatic night in Stockholm, Stutzle’s swing saved face for a Senators team that had looked impressive building up a 4-0 lead by early in the second period, only to blow it by allowing four consecutive goals by second intermission.

It was the Tkachuk show in the early going, with the 24-year-old scoring twice in the first 9:57 of the game. By 1:18 of the second period, Jake Sanderson and Josh Norris had widened Ottawa’s advantage to 4-0, leading Detroit coach Derek Lalonde to wonder if he should pull Reimer to change momentum.

He didn’t. And for the short term, it proved to be the right move.

Indeed, when Sweden native Lucas Raymond cut it to 4-1 at 9:39 of the second, it pumped life into the Red Wings bench and opened the floodgates. Sure enough, goals by David Perron, Alex DeBrincat and Shayne Gostisbehere evened the score 4-4 and set the stage for a fantastic finish.

After being on that kind of emotional roller-coaster ride, of course the game would end with a baseball swing by a guy who isn’t a fan of the sport.

It was that type of surreal night at Avicii Arena. Just ask Reimer.

“I lost sight of the puck,” he said. “And when I caught [sight] of it again, it was him going for a baseball swing. He kind of got lucky and I couldn’t get over there in time.”

Stutzle, who also had two assists, could sense the clock was ticking. He, like the rest of those in the building, had to consider the increasing possibility that the game would be settled in a shootout.

Until it wasn’t.

Watch Stützle's home-run swing in slow motion

“I think it was pretty lucky,” he admitted. “I knew we didn’t have a lot of time there left, and [I] just tried to get it on net.

“In the end, I don’t think the goalie really saw that coming.”

Having had about 20 minutes to digest what had just happened, Senators coach D.J. Smith was asked if he’d ever been in a more chaotic game.

“No,” he said definitively, pausing for a moment before elaborating.

“We didn’t forecheck in the second period,” he said, analyzing how his team had surrendered a four-goal advantage. “We looked like we just wanted to hang on and kill the clock. Clearly, we got burned.”

Enter Tkachuk. The captain gave his team a pep talk entering the third period with the game tied 4-4.

“I’m proud of the guys between periods,” Smith said. “You know, to regroup, to come back out, and to stick with it, take care of the puck. I think we allowed just five shots in the third period and left with a win.

“I think it’s way easier to learn a lesson when you win a game than losing. In the end we feel good about ourselves, but there’s a lot of things we can learn.”