Toronto Maple Leafs vs Arizona Coyotes - Matthews and Knies Go Home

The Toronto Maple Leafs are set to square off with the Arizona Coyotes tonight at Mullet Arena. This is the Toronto Maple Leafs final game without Morgan Reilly and the first game of a back-to-back set before travelling to Vegas for a game with the Golden Knights tomorrow.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Arizona Coyotes - Auston Matthews hunting 50th goal.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Arizona Coyotes - Auston Matthews hunting 50th goal. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

The Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Arizona Coyotes tonight in Arizona.

This game feels like it means more than it should, but it is a big game for Auston Matthews and Matthew Knies who are from Arizona and love to match up with their childhood team. It is also a big game for this Toronto Maple Leafs team which is 4-0 since the Morgan Reilly suspension, and this game presents an opportunity to sweep all five of the games that Reilly has been suspended, which would be a huge momentum builder for this team.

On top of that, the Maple Leafs have not beaten this Coyotes team in two straight years and have been outscored 8-4 by the Coyotes in their last two trips to Arizona.

But this time could be different, the Coyotes enter play tonight will the potential to break the Coyotes longest losing streak in franchise history.


Toronto Maple Leafs @ Coyotes Goaltending Matchup

Over this 10-game losing streak the Coyotes have given up at least three goals in all 10 games and have given up five or more goals in six of these last 10.

Over this stretch, the Coyotes have the second worst goals for percentage in the NHL and are averaging the sixth most penalty kill time on ice. That should not match up well against this Maple Leafs team who has converted on 58 percent of their powerplays in their last eight games and are scoring 3.87 goals per game over their last 10. (stast naturalstattrick.com).

Even with the Maple Leafs offence firing on all cylinders, the Coyotes announced that they will be starting goaltender Karel Vejmelka who is 3-0 lifetime against the Maple Leafs with a .943 save percentage. Vejmelka has been nothing short of a wall against the Maple Leafs, but he has struggled recently having a 4.66 goals-against average since the new year.

According to David Alter of the Hockey News, Ilya Samsonov will start tonight's game, while the following lines are what Sheldon Keefe is expected to go with.

The third line is incredibly intriguing, and it will very interesting to see how these lines perform tonight.

manual

This should not be as hard of a matchup to predict as it is. But with all the outside factors, Matthews and Knies being back where they grew up, the chance to sweep all five games without Morgan Reilly and the fact they have not beaten this Coyotes team in two years, I think the Maple Leafs want this game.