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The Leafs need William Nylander to come alive in Game 6

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Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 month ago
It’s time for William Nylander to prove his worth
Just like Tuesday night in Boston, the season will be on the line for the Maple Leafs once again when they host the Bruins for Game 6.
And so, the stage is certainly set.
Through two outings since returning from his mysterious head injury, the 28-year-old has yet to register a point. He does however have eight shots goal – including five in Game 5 – which means the dam could be about to burst.
It had better, or it could be curtains for Sheldon Keefe and company.
Truth be told, even before the injury, Nylander’s game and point production had dipped considerably. In fact, he registered just five measly points over his final 13 regular season outings to fall two points shy of 100, which for most of the year, seemed like a formality. Taking things a step further, Nylander hasn’t scored a goal since March 26th —well over a month ago. To save you time, that’s a span of 13 games.
Translation: He’s due; very due.
On January 8th, the Leafs handed the top-flight winger an eight-year contract extension worth $11.5 million per season. In 47 contests since then, he’s tallied 19 goals and 44 points, well below his output prior to his new commitment. It’s amazing how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?
With so much uncertainty surrounding Auston Matthews’ health and many others around him also struggling to put the puck in the net, the pressure’s firmly on for Nylander to deliver. Plain and simple, he needs to find a way to rise up and get the job done. This is why Brad Treliving showed him the money. He pledged his allegiance to him, and now, it’s time for the All-Star to go out there and show why he’s worth every penny. While there’s no question that the contract debate will rage on for years to come, if Nylander can come through here, he’ll be able to silence a lot of the critics.
Over and above all that, conventional wisdom suggests that the Leafs are ready to bust loose offensively. That said, dating back to last year, they’ve now scored three goals or less in 12 straight postseason outings. That’s mind-numbing stuff for a franchise that’s constantly been at or near the top of the league year after year in most of the meaningful offensive categories.
No pressure.

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