Coyotes look to build momentum vs. struggling Maple Leafs
It took a late scoring outburst capped by Mikkel Boedker to lift the Arizona Coyotes out of their recent doldrums.
Boedker will try to keep his team’s momentum going when it continues a five-game trip Monday night against the scuffling Toronto Maple Leafs.
Arizona had gone through an 0-3-1 stretch before a 4-1 victory against Ottawa on Saturday. Brad Richardson started a spurt of three goals in the final 5 1/2 minutes before Boedker tallied the final two for his second career hat trick.
Anders Lindback made 35 saves in his first start for the Coyotes (4-3-1).
"(Snapping the losing streak) was real important, especially on a longer road trip," said Boedker, who had one goal and one assist in his first seven games. "I think that was real important for us as a group to show that we can win on the road and we can win tight games and that feels really good. I think we can bring that on to Toronto."
The Coyotes are 4-0-1 in their last five visits to Toronto and 8-1-1 in the past 10 overall matchups after winning both last season. This time, they’ll take on a team that’s started 1-4-2 in coach Mike Babcock’s first season and has dropped three in a row.
Martin Hanzal has five goals and five assists in eight career games against Toronto. The center hasn’t scored a goal this season but is tied for the team points lead with nine assists.
In Max’s case, with him being a Toronto kid and all the time his dad spent with the Leafs, well, he’s had this game circled on the calendar for a long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Max has the best game of his life Monday night.
Hanzal has been centering a line with 20-year-old rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, who will be playing their first game at the Air Canada Centre since leading Team Canada to victory over Russia in the gold-medal game of the world junior championships last January.
Domi, who is from Toronto, where his father spent much of his career as an enforcer for the Maple Leafs, had three points in Canada’s 5-4 victory, including an assist on Duclair’s goal in the first minute of play.
"It’s going to be a special moment for both of us," Duclair told the Toronto Sun. "In Max’s case, with him being a Toronto kid and all the time his dad spent with the Leafs, well, he’s had this game circled on the calendar for a long time.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if Max has the best game of his life Monday night."
Domi has three goals and six assists in his first eight games, while Duclair has a team-leading five goals and two assists.
The Maple Leafs trailed for the final 49-plus minutes in a 5-3 loss to unbeaten rival Montreal on Saturday, allowing four second-period goals in the finale of a four-game trip.
Toronto will get to play five of its next six on home ice, with the lone road game against the New York Rangers on Friday.
The matchup with Arizona is the Leafs’ first home game since Oct. 10, but Babcock acknowledges that stretch doesn’t mean much if his team doesn’t perform well.
"When you don’t play good, sometimes it’s harder to play at home," he said. "The way I look at it, let’s just keep getting better. Let’s not worry about anything else. Let’s worry about this room and getting better each and every day and you’ll be amazed at what happens."
The game will feature two of the league’s lesser power-play units. Toronto is 2 for 21 (9.5 percent) and Arizona 3 for 34 (8.8). The Coyotes, though, have killed off 83.9 percent of their penalties, while the Leafs are toward the bottom of the league at 75.0.
It’s unclear when Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette will return after ending his run of 482 consecutive games Saturday, the NHL’s second-longest active streak. Vermette has a lower-body injury that caused him to leave two previous contests.
- Anthony Duclair
- Antoine Vermette
- Arizona Coyotes
- Brad Richardson
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Coyotes
- Martin Hanzal
- Max Domi
- Mikkel Boedker
- Toronto Maple Leafs