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Leafs first-round pick Nylander lifts Sweden to victory in Toronto

Wiliam Nylander

Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander smiles at NHL hockey training camp in Toronto, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)


William Nylander enjoyed a memorable moment at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on Friday, except it was as a member of Team Sweden, as it opened its 2015 world junior tournament.

There will come a time - very likely to be soon, too - when Nylander is playing on that same ice surface for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club that took him eighth overall in June’s NHL Draft. For now, he’s competing for his nation. Nylander scored the winning goal to give Sweden what was ultimately a 5-2 win over the Czech Republic in Group B action.

He received quite the reaction from the fans in Toronto, too.

The result also helped. Canada and the U.S. might be the favorites in terms of the odds, but Sweden is also right there in the mix, too.

“It was good to get off to a good start in the tournament after two bad exhibition games,” said Nylander, as per the IIHF World Junior website. “It’s our first game, and we want to go far in the tournament, so we wanted to just play our game and get going.”

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