The Toronto Maple Leafs should destroy the Arizona Coyotes tonight.
On the second of a back-to-back, in beautiful Arizona, with two days off before their next game, this is the definition of a “trap” game for the Leafs. They secured three of four points against Colorado and Vegas, so looking past the Coyotes would be an easy thing to do for any team.
Fortunately for the Leafs (and head coach Sheldon Keefe) this is a meaningful game for their best player.
Auston Matthews grew up a die-hard Coyotes fan and it’s the reason why he became a professional hockey player, so he’ll be up for it, and the rest of the team will follow him. Matthews is not going to let his team get embarrassed during his homecoming and it wouldn’t be shocking if he scored two or three goals tonight.
Toronto Maple Leafs Should Beat Down Coyotes
The Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t be more opposite.
Arizona is on their way to securing the number-one overall pick with a 7-23-3 record (17 points), while the Leafs are making a push for the President’s Trophy with a 23-8-3 record (49 points).
To showcase just how terrible Arizona is right now, their first line centre is a player that the Leafs waived last year because he couldn’t crack their top 12 forwards. No offense to Travis Boyd (who I thought deserved a better opportunity), but if Boyd is your top-line centre, your team has zero chance at winning.
Three of the four Coyotes’ centre’s are former Maple Leafs cast-off’s, who weren’t good enough to stay with the club as Alex Galchenyuk and Riley Nash centre the third and fourth lines (via: dailyfaceoff.com)
Although the team is in shambles, they have a couple good young players and a few trade-chips they can use this year to pick up future assets. Jakob Chychrun, Lawson Crouse and Clayton Keller are players you can build around, while Phil Kessel and Anton Stralman should fetch this team something at the NHL Trade Deadline.
In 33 games thus far, the Coyotes have lost by two or more goals 20 times, which equals the following statement: 60 percent of the time, Arizona loses by two or more times (!).
In comparison, the Leafs have won 13 games by two or more goals this year, so 38 percent of the time, they win by two or more.
Petr Mrazek is in net, so that’s the only thing that should scare anyone away. However, this is a huge game for Mrazek’s confidence as he looks to get more starts down the stretch to lower the workload of Jack Campbell.
We should always expect the unexpected as Leafs fans, but Toronto should destroy the Coyotes tonight and win this one easily.