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STOCKHOLM -- There will be plenty of international intrigue when the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators face off in Sweden on Thursday.

Swedish players including Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond, Senators defensemen Erik Brannstrom and Jacob Larsson, and goalie Anton Forsberg will no doubt be in the spotlight in their home country.

But when the two Atlantic Division rivals play the first game of the 2023 NHL Global Series Sweden presented by Fastenal at Avicii Arena (2 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN5, NHLN, BSDET), two rising superstars from Germany could steal the show.

"They are both unbelievable," Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat said.

DeBrincat was referring to his teammate, Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider, and Senators forward Tim Stützle, two longtime friends who will be on opposite sides Thursday.

"Well, I just think it's really unique that it's just two really special, elite NHL players from Germany," Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. "I think it just kind of says where the German hockey federation has grown and where it's at, but both just have the chance to be superstars and dominant type players."

Stutzle leads the Senators with 14 assists and 17 points in 13 games. This after a breakout 2022-23 season when the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft had NHL career highs across the board with 90 points (39 goals, 51 assists) in 78 games.

"I think he's one of the most talented players in this hockey world right now," Seider said about Stutzle. "His breakout year was last year and he's going to top that eventually. It's just fun to watch him, he has so much joy playing the game and it's exciting to watch.

"He's always coming up with a solution, he never gets in trouble out there and always finds the right play, and he's obviously developed that kind of goal touch to actually finish the job by himself."

OTT@TOR: Stutzle fires home a shot to cap off nice passing

Seider, selected by the Red Wings with the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 15 games. He leads Detroit defensemen in assists and is second on the team to forward Dylan Larkin (12).

"I think to play against 'Mo,' it's fun on the one side, but also I kind of hate playing against him because he's such a great player," Stutzle said. "It's great to see him. We always work out in the summer, and obviously during the season we don't see each other that much, except when we play against each other.

"He's such a good player, so good defensively, and being able to play against all the top guys every night, I think that's really impressive. He's really good on the power play and moving the puck really well. He's a guy who can pass the puck out of your own zone and he obviously has a deadly shot from the top, and it's fun to watch."

Seider, 22, is from Zell, Germany, while Stutzle, 21, is from Viersen, about 130 miles north. They work out together in the offseason but said they have not been able to spend much time together so far in Stockholm aside from saying hello in their hotel. But their coaches and teammates know just how close they are.

"There's a unique bond between those guys, kind of their upbringing and coming over to America," Lalonde said. "I just think it's two really, really special players. There are so many good players in the League. You know, I've said that before, the Tkachuk brothers (Brady and Matthew) are two of my favorite players, the way they play, but there's nights when you're playing Stutzle in Ottawa where he's just 'wow.' He has a chance to dominate the League. You can see him keep growing, growing and growing. So I just think two really special players that have a unique background being from Germany."

DeBrincat has had the privilege of playing with each of them. He's in his first season with the Red Wings after playing for the Senators last season.

"Timmy's got so much skill and can really control the game, and Mo is a guy you definitely don't want to go into the corners with. He works so hard and has that offensive flair as well," DeBrincat said. "It's a forward and a 'D,' so you can't really compare them, but both unbelievable players, both great guys. It's been fun to play with both of them and learn from them."

Senators coach D.J. Smith saw how tight they were during the 2022 IIHF World Championship, when they each played for Germany and Smith was an assistant coach for Canada.

"Well, they're good friends and they are both young guys that are top players on their team in their respective positions," Smith said. "I saw both at the World Championships last year, they were hanging out all the time. I think it will be exciting for them to play against each other. But friends and that aside, both teams are trying to win."

Global Series Sweden action begins today at 2PM ET

And that's perhaps the biggest storyline Thursday -- the direction of each team and the two points at stake.

The Red Wings (8-5-2) had lost three of four before a 5-4 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday in their final tune-up for Sweden. They are tied for third in the Atlantic Division with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who they play here Friday.

The Senators (6-7-0) have won two of their past three, including a 4-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday before heading to Sweden, but are last in the Atlantic and are tied with the Blue Jackets for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference (12).

"(They're) big, they're heavy," Lalonde said of Ottawa. "They have a top line (Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Vladimir Tarasenko) that can be dominant. You can just tell they're a talented group. But you can see they're really good in every position. They play with pace. They're just a really tough up-and-down-the-lineup type team."

Smith sees a similar challenge in the Red Wings.

"Detroit right now has four lines going good, they have six defensemen going good, so they get contributions through the lineup, and obviously their top line -- Larkin, (Lucas) Raymond, DeBrincat -- are capable of winning them games on any night," Smith said. "They are a team, much like ourselves, that had some young guys who are starting to get a little older ... and then they've added some veteran players and they feel they can win every night right now."

It all adds up to what should be a great start to the Global Series, especially for Seider and Stutzle.

"I know they are buddies, and they go hard against each other," Senators goalie Joonas Korpisalo said. "Playing against your best buddy, it's going to be exciting."