Leafs meet Sharks again, now with William Nylander locked up

Jan 9, 2024, 7:00 AM

William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in action against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center...

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 06: William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in action against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on January 06, 2024 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander will be a wealthier man when he takes the ice Tuesday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks.

The Maple Leafs announced Monday that Nylander has signed an eight-year, $92 million contract extension with the team.

Nylander had two goals and an assist Saturday when the Maple Leafs defeated the Sharks 4-1 in San Jose. Nylander has 21 goals and 33 assists for a team-high 54 points this season.

The possibility of a contract extension has been a subject of speculation for much of the season.

“That would be a dream to stay here,” Nylander said after the game on Saturday. “I mean, to play for such an organization. And I call Toronto home. So I think that’d be a very special feeling.”

The Maple Leafs are returning from a sweep of a three-game road trip to California. Martin Jones started all three games in a goal and was scored upon only twice.

“He’s been great on this trip,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said of Jones. “It’s been a little bit of homecoming for him going back to California. We’ve leaned on him a lot, and he’s been tremendous.”

Jones has played for the Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. Jones shut out the Kings in a 3-0 game Jan. 2 to start the trip.

“I think we’ve done a great job sinking into tight games and trying to take away the chances for the opponents,” Nylander said. “Jonesy played great. I think we’re building in the right direction.”

Nylander has four goals and two assists in his past three games.

While the Maple Leafs will be trying to extend their winning streak to four games, the Sharks will try to prevent going 12 straight games without earning a point. They have lost 11 in a row, all in regulation.

They could not overcome a slow start on Saturday. The Maple Leafs had an 18-3 advantage in shots on goal in the first period even though they scored only once, and that came on a five-on-three power play.

“I didn’t really love our compete (Saturday),” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “I thought we got outworked and outcompeted too often. Listen, (the Maple Leafs) have more talent than we do. Nobody is (denying) that, but we need to be way more consistent with our compete.”

“I do think they outworked us,” Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said. “I don’t quite think that we were the hardest-working team, which, for our group here, that can’t happen.”

Long losing streaks are not new to the Sharks. They went 0-10-1 to open the season.

Quinn said Saturday was a “step back from the way we’ve been playing but, still, this would have been one of our better games in the first 10.”

The 1992-93 campaign was the last time the Sharks had two losing streaks of at least 11 games in one season. During that season, the Sharks had both a 13-game losing streak and a 17-game losing streak.

Sharks forward Logan Couture (lower-body injury) has been out all season but is close to a return. He is not expected to play on Tuesday, however. He will be with the team on the five-game road trip that starts Tuesday.

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