ARI@TOR L 4-1
100 games in the NHL is a milestone and although it might not be viewed as a huge milestone. It actually is. To play 100 games in the best league in the world is no small feat. It’ s is actually something pretty special. To do it when your 20 years is also special and to do it against your hometown team, the team that is the reason you play hockey. Well thats just cool. Thats what Auston Matthews did on Monday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs were at home to the last place team in the league, the Arizona Coyotes. Entering play the Coyotes only had 11 points on the season (4points coming in the last two games). Toronto on the other hand had 12 points in their last six games.
But thats why the games are played on ice and not paper.
The Coyotes record may not be an accurate reflection of this club and if the goaltending was better they might be a lot higher up in the standings.
The Coyotes got the first goal and it was a beauty. Auston Matthews good friend, Clayton Keller, the 7th overall pick in last years draft made a pass across the crease that ended up on his teammates stick and then past a sprawling Freddy Andersen. After an even first period, The Leafs were down a goal.
Thirty three seconds into the 2nd frame JVR scored his 11th goal of the season and he will be looking for some big dollars as a free agent at the end of the year. Big dollars that wont be available in Toronto because of the youth movement here and the money that will be doled out by the millions to keep the core of Matthews, Nylander, Brown, Hyman, Marner, who all need long term deals to avoid restricted free agency (RFA) in the coming years. After that goal the teams played some boring almost “trap”style hockey. With under two minutes left in the 2nd the Coyotes struck again and took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room.
Late in the 3rd period it looked like the Leafs tied it on a gorgeous goal by Matthews but the goal was called back for goalie interference. Zack Hyman poked the goalies pads and the refs said the goalie couldn’t get back into position which is untrue because the goalie was in position or he didn’t even try to get back in position(depends how you see it) and NO goalie would have saved that rocket from Matthews that fit in the very top right corner. The Buds kept pressing and pulled the goalie and again it was Matthews but this time he hit the near post during a crazy flurry with the extra man. Unfortunately they couldn’t convert and Arizona’s Max Domi, son of former Leaf tough guy Tie Domi, added an empty netter. The Coyotes put in a second empty net goal making the final 4-1.
It’ s not good to lose to the last place team but the Coyotes got excellent goaltending and the Leafs looked rather lacklustre on the night. Matthews and Marner got a couple of shifts together and they looked brilliant again. Penalties killed the Maple Leafs in this game and the two goals that won the game for Arizona were both Power-play markers.
Toronto has day off before playing 3 games in 4 days and they training staff will look to do treatment on Auston Matthews who looks like he is still dealing with that mysterious upper bodying injury. After winning six in a row the Leafs comeback down to earth and will look to start a new streak against Florida on Wednesday night.