The Toronto Maple Leafs recently had a break in between games that lasted 17 days. This break was a combination of NHL postponing games due to Covid protocols and the NHL Christmas break.
On Friday, December 31st, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, and Jake Muzzin returned to practice. When asked about what they did during their quarantine, Nylander said they played a lot of video games, with Call of Duty being the game of choice.
With just one practice before the January 1st game against the Ottawa Senators, there was no telling how well Nylander would do come game time. As it turns out, Nylander did not wait long to score his 14th goal of the season.
The talented Swede scored twice in about four minutes in the third period on Saturday. His two goals helped the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Senators 6-0 and improve the team’s record to 21-8-2 (44 points).
Nylander is now on pace to score 37 goals and finish the season with 85 points. Both stats would become new career highs for the 25-year-old. He has long silenced those who criticized both the team and himself for signing a contract that pays him $6.9 million a season, and now clearly has one of the NHL’s best contracts.
Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander Playing Their Best
With five goals and nine points in his last five games, Nylander is on a nice scoring/point streak. Nylander’s best 82 game season was during the 2017-18 season when he registered 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points.
Nylander ranks 15th in all-propose points per minute, scoring at a rate of 3.41 P/60 (Tavares is 12th, Matthews 14th). (stats from naturalhattrick.com and hockeyreference.com).
If Nylander continues to produce at his current pace and reaches the estimated 37 goals and 85 points, he will shatter his previous career-best in both goals and points. As previously mentioned, 61 points are his current career-best (2017-18). As for goals, his current career-best is the 31 goals he scored during the 2019-20 season.
Nylander will be looking to continue his scoring streak on Wednesday, January 5th, against the Edmonton Oilers. With a win against the Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs would improve to 22-8-2 and continue their impressive season.
Toronto is on pace to record 55 wins this season and finish with an overall record of 55-21-6 for 116 points. The most wins Toronto has ever recorded in their NHL history is 49 wins, so 50 wins or more will be a new Maple Leafs record. Toronto’s current best of 105 points will also get broken this season if the Maple Leafs continue on their current pace.
It is good to see both William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs playing well. The postponed games due to Covid are a bit of a hassle, but one that I’m sure Toronto can overcome. The team responded well against Ottawa on Saturday and will look to keep things going in the right direction on Wednesday against Edmonton.