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Keefe: Maple Leafs are preparing for William Nylander to play

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Photo credit:Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 month ago
William Nylander looks to be making his series debut tonight after missing the past three games.
The Leafs forward has been sorely missed and given that one of their biggest struggles has been creating offence, a 40 goal/98 point winger who moves the puck up ice better than any other Leaf will be a tremendous asset.
“Looked great to me on the ice. In terms of his status, we’ll have to determine that tomorrow,” Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe shared on Friday regarding Nylander via TSN’s Mark Masters. And based on Nylander’s absence from the optional skate and what Keefe has shared regarding his plans for tonight, the Leafs are about to add some additional fire power to a lineup that is desperately looking to solve the Bruins goaltenders.
Nylander seemed to hit a wall offensively in the final stretch of the season and it coincides with the Leafs attempting to stretch their offence onto three lines. Nylander will likely be playing primarily with Jarnkrok and Holmberg, with some likely guest appearances on the Tavares line as well. Based on Friday’s practice he’ll also be back to his usual spot on the Leafs top powerplay unit.
Nylander has been viewed as one of the Leafs better playoff performers in recent years, he had 10 points (4 goals) in 11 games last season and is a point per game player over the past three post seasons. Nylander has been a lot more comfortable in using his larger frame and driving the net in a power forward fashion in the post season. He still won’t throw hits but hasn’t shied away when opponents have played him physically.
As for facing the Bruins, Nylander’s track record isn’t as good. He had two assists in the four games against Boston this season and has 16 points in his 25 regular season games against Boston throughout his career. Having Nylander play further down the lineup creates a unique situation he hasn’t had before against the Bruins and it will be interesting to see how that plays out. And whether he produces or not, he is now another player Boston will need to worry about.

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