The Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander still has his hand up, waiting for Zach Hyman’s high-five. On Saturday night, Hyman was nearly full speed when he wrapped around the net for a pretty goal against the Calgary Flames. His momentum carried him all the way to the front of the Leafs bench, where his teammates were cheering him on, including the guy they call Willy Styles. On Monday, Nylander was all smiles recreating when he got left hanging and explaining how the gesture works.
The goal gave Toronto the insurance they needed to play defensive hockey and shut out the Flames 2-0. The win snapped a three-game losing streak, the second three-game slide in the last seven games.
Nylander Meshing with Galchenyuk
Nylander spent the last two games on the same line as Alex Galchenyuk. The second line of Nylander and John Tavares has not been able to find the third piece. However, Sheldon Keefe liked what Galchenyuk brought to the line during the 27-year-old’s first game as a Maple Leaf. He kept the speedy winger on the second line the following night while mixing up all other combinations.
Galchenyuk was trending toward being a top-line player when he first broke into the NHL. He had a couple of 50 point seasons during his six years with the Montreal Canadiens. But he has bounced around the league for the last five seasons. He started the 2020-21 campaign with the Ottawa Senators but was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes after eight games. He never made it to Carolina, as the Canes moves him to Toronto. The Maple Leafs believed he needed to be reset and sent him to the minors for the first time in his career. It seemed to work. After just a few games, he’s back in the NHL and impressing his linemates and coaches. No wonder he hasn’t updated his social media profile yet. Perhaps, Willy Styles, who is quite active on social media can give him some pointers.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.