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William Nylander Shines in Sweden, Panarin Stays Hot & More

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Nylander

The NHL played a few games in Sweden this past week and it was a gold mine when it came to fun moments — especially for Toronto Maple Leafs star William Nylander.

Nylander shined in his father’s hometown of Stockholm, scoring two goals with five points in two games.

That brought his season total to 27 points, which is tied for fourth in the league.

His 12 goals are tied for fifth.

Oh yeah, he is also on a 17-game point streak to start the year.

Nylander finished the festivities in Sweden off with this sweet overtime winner against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday:

Can we appreciate how good the blue helmets look, by the way?

The NHL recently confirmed that color-on-helmet match-ups are league-approved and the Maple Leafs used them against the Wild and Detroit Red Wings this week.

Anyway, what a special moment for Nylander and his family, who were in their hometown watching him.

His hot start is going to get him paid this offseason as well.

The 27-year-old is going to be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and is set to get a raise from his $6.9 million salary.

It will be interesting to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to re-sign him.

They’re right up against the cap as things stand, although they will likely get some help with the salary cap finally set to go up this summer.

Here are a few more fun happenings around the NHL in this week’s edition of ‘Top Cheese.’

Panarin, Rangers Keep Rolling

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Speaking of hot streaks to start a season, New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin has points in each of his first 15 games.

Panarin has 10 goals and 26 points on the season and is a big reason why the Rangers hold the top spot in the Metropolitan Division despite playing the fewest amount of games in the league.

And this is a New York team which has been missing star defenseman Adam Fox since he took a knee-to-knee hit on Nov. 2.

The Rangers are 4-0-1 since losing Fox and big goals from Panarin have been a big reason why.

This snipe straight off the draw to tie up a big Hudson River Rivarly showdown is certainly one of them.

Even with Fox unable to return from long-term injured reserve until later this month, there is nothing stopping this Rangers team.

Erik Gustafsson has stepped up and filled Fox’s offensive void on the blueline in his absence, netting seven points in five games.

He has a point in every game since Fox’s departure from the lineup.

Gustafsson has not scored at this kind of clip since hitting 60 points with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018-19.

Since then, he struggled to stay healthy and topped out at 42 points last season.

His return to form has been a huge bright spot for a Rangers team with a lot of them this year.

Jonathan Quick has also seen a career renaissance behind star goaltender Igor Shesterkin,  going 4-0-1 with a .928/1.98 and a shutout.

Kyle Connor Leads League In Goals

The NHL leader in goals resides in Winnipeg.

Kyle Connor soared into the league-lead in goals with six of them in his past five games.

He also picked up a trio of assists for good measure.

The 26-year-old winger has 14 goals on the year, jumping ahead of a pack which includes Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart at 13.

How did he jump into the lead? Just read the name of this column…

The Jets have been rolling as of late, sitting a point out of first place in the Central Division at 10-5-2.

Florida will host Winnipeg on Friday.

Wild Week for Alex Nedelkjovic

It’s already rare enough for a goaltender to score a goal in his career.

Alex Nedeljkovic became the first player in AHL history to score two in his career in a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins win on Friday.

I mean, c’mon, that’s already pretty sick…

Nedeljkovic then earned a call-up to the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL roster and promptly put up a 38-save shutout against the best team in the league on Sunday.

The northeast Ohio native wore a Cleveland Browns jersey during his postgame interview to promptly put a damper in the moods of the Pittsburgh fans who were just cheering for him.

The Browns, of course, beat the Steelers earlier that afternoon. (George made me include that sentence.)

This guy rules.

Go Browns. (GR)

PANTHERS ON DECK

EDMONTON OILERS @ FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Monday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • This Season: @Florida, Monday; @ Edmonton, Dec. 16
  • Last season: Edmonton won 2-0
  • All-time regular season series: Edmonton leads 23-14-0, 3 ties

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