Recap: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Minnesota Wild 11.19.23

William Nylander finished his homecoming with an exclamation point.

Nylander extended his point streak to 17 games with the overtime winner and an assist when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-3 at Avicii Arena in Stockholm on Sunday to complete the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden presented by Fastenal.

"It's pretty special to get the OT winner there," Nylander said. "It was a great four points for us here."

On the winning goal, Nylander rushed from inside his blue line, attacked the three Wild players in front of him and scored after avoiding a poke check from goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to win the game at 3:09.

"He's got such confidence and swagger here now that he is just feeling like he can turn a game at any point in time," Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. "He stepped up in big moments and was a huge part of why we got four points here."

TOR@MIN: Nylander sends home OT winner in tight

Nylander, who said he bought more than 90 tickets for family and friends who wanted to see him compete in his hometown as a NHL player for the first time, had five points (two goals, three assists) in the two games.

"You know he has the skill and the moves to pull it off," Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner said. "Great power move to get to the net and a nice little flick shot."

It was the fourth and final game of the 2023 Global Series Sweden, which also featured the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings.

"It's a fitting end to the week for sure, for us, for Willie, for the fans, for the city, the country, all that kind of stuff," Keefe said. "I think it is a terrific close to the event; terrific how it works. I would prefer, of course, that we didn't get to the overtime. If that is what we have to do to have a finish like that, we'll take it."

Auston Matthews, Matthew Knies and Morgan Rielly scored for the Maple Leafs (10-5-2), who won their fourth straight game, including a 3-2 victory against Detroit on Friday. Joseph Woll made 33 saves and Marner had two assists, including the 400th of his NHL career.

"It's been a great week for us," Matthews said. "To see all the Swedes being home and the support for everybody, but obviously Willie for who he is as a player, as a person and what he represents here in Sweden. It's been a great week and fun to see that."

TOR@MIN: Rielly, Matthews team up to score

Jon Merrill, Jake Middleton and Mats Zuccarello scored, and Fleury made 21 saves for the Wild (5-8-4), who have lost five in a row (0-4-1), including 2-1 in a shootout to the Senators on Saturday.

"I loved the way we battled back in the game, played in the second and third," Fleury said. "Disappointed to come out on the short end.

"I'm proud of the way the guys battled, to grind and tie the game and get the point. Obviously, we want more, need more, but I think it is a step in the right direction."

Nylander had the primary assist on a power-play goal by Matthews at 12:43 of the first period that tied the game 1-1. He tied Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the longest season-opening streak by an active NHL player set in 2021-22.

There have been seven longer points streaks to start an NHL season, achieved by Wayne Gretzky (three times), Mats Sundin, Dany Heatley, Marcel Dionne and Bill Cowley.

Matthews' 14 goals are tied with Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor for the NHL lead.

Marner assisted on Rielly's goal at 4:22 of the third. He has 401 assists in 524 NHL games and is the fastest in Maple Leafs history to reach 400, besting defenseman Borje Salming (600 games). 

Marner also assisted on Knies' goal that made it 2-1 at 18:23 of the first. He is the third-fastest active player to 400 assists, trailing McDavid (425 games) and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (448).

Merrill scored his first goal of the season to give the Wild a 1-0 lead at 2:37 of the opening period.

Middleton made it 3-2 at 6:10 of the third and Zuccarello tied the game 3-3 at 8:42.

"We played really well the last 40 minutes," Wild forward Marcus Foligno said. "We have a lot of good things to take away from this trip. We had some fun off the ice and found our game a little on the ice and that is what we came here to do. We could have had four points."

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