Coyotes knock off Maple Leafs 2-0 in Matthews’ return
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The fans packed Gila River Arena to see hometown star Auston Matthews’ lone trip to the desert this season.
The Arizona Coyotes gave them a defensive show instead.
Darcy Kuemper stopped 21 shots and the Coyotes shut down Matthews in his return to Arizona in a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
“You can’t let them have time and space, and that’s the big thing we did today,” said Arizona’s Josh Archibald, who scored his seventh goal of the season. “A lot of those skills guys don’t like to get hit and when you finish your checks on them, they get frustrated.”
Arizona won the teams’ first meeting 4-2 in Toronto last month and took control of the rematch with goals by Alex Galchenyuk and Archibald in the second period.
The Coyotes were crisp on defense and Kuemper was sharp after allowing four goals his previous start, earning his second shutout of the season and No. 13 for his career.
“We did a lot of good things,” Coyotes forward Derek Stepan said. “We had some penalties and Kuemps had to make some big saves, but overall it was a strong 60.”
The Maple Leafs arrived in the desert playing well, winning six of their previous seven games. Toronto couldn’t match Arizona’s energy in its fourth game in six days, managing 16 shots before pulling goalie Frederik Andersen with 3 1/2 minutes left.
“It was one of those nights where it really didn’t go our way and those happen,” said Andersen, who had 27 saves.
Matthews grew up in Scottsdale and became the first Arizona-born player to be selected No. 1 overall in the NHL draft in 2016.
He arrived home on a hot streak.
Matthews scored two goals in the Maple Leafs’ 6-3 win over Vegas on Thursday night, including the 100th of his career, giving him six points in two games.
Arizona held Matthews in check most of the night, limiting his scoring chances while frustrating all the Maple Leafs.
“It’s frustrating for sure,” said Matthews, who took four shots. “You come back here, you want to perform, you want to win the game most importantly. We really just didn’t have it tonight. They outworked us in many different areas and we didn’t have an answer.”
The Coyotes had a sluggish start against St. Louis in their last game, falling into a 2-0 first-period hole in a 4-0 loss Thursday night.
Arizona was much sharper against the Maple Leafs, playing well in its own end and creating numerous scoring chances. Andersen made some difficult saves and Archibald missed the net left on a short breakaway.
The Coyotes kept buzzing the offensive zone in the second and Galchenyuk scored his team-leading 13th goal early in the period, one-timing a pass from Jordan Oesterle from the right circle over a sliding Anderson.
Archibald made it 2-0 about two minutes later, lifting the puck over Andersen’s glove side on a rebound off a Derek Stepan shot.
Kuemper made a series of saves later in the period after Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty, including a shot by Tyler Ennis from just outside the crease.
Toronto’s William Nylander appeared to have scored an incredible goal early in the third period, catching a flying puck with his stick and pulling it backward. The puck hit his shoulder and caromed past Kuemper, but the officials ruled he hit it with a high stick. A video review confirmed the call.
“They did exactly what we told our guys they were going to do and in the end, we didn’t execute well enough and work at a high enough level to have success,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said.
NOTES: Toronto LW Andreas Johnsson did not play after injuring his leg against the Golden Knights. ... The meeting was the 100th between the franchises, dating to 1979, when the Coyotes were still in Winnipeg. ... Coyotes RW Richard Panik was out sick.
Toronto plays at St. Louis on Tuesday.
Arizona plays at Calgary on Monday.