Coyotes win 4-1, stop Maple Leafs’ win streak at 6 games
TORONTO (AP) — After a terrible start to the season, the Arizona Coyotes are finally enjoying some success.
Antti Raanta made 26 saves and Arizona ended the Toronto Maple Leafs’ winning streak at six games with a 4-1 victory Monday night.
“I think they’re one of the better teams in the league. We knew we had to play a certain way to beat them,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “It’s hard to do for 60 minutes and tonight I think we did it for the most part.”
Brendan Perlini, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Domi and Tobias Rieder scored for the Coyotes (5-15-3), who have won three in a row for the first time this season. They opened with only two wins in their first 20 games.
“We flushed the first 20 games down the drain,” Tocchet said. “I think the last (few) games we’re playing the right way, not going off the grid and being individual.”
Arizona rookie Clayton Keller had two assists to give him 20 points in 23 games.
James van Riemsdyk scored for the Maple Leafs (14-8-0), who were trying to match their longest winning streak since 2003.
″(The Coyotes) were ready to compete at the start. They were better than us,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. “When you don’t start on time you don’t deserve good results and we got what we deserved.”
Frederik Andersen had his shutout streak snapped at 1:41:28 when the Coyotes scored in the first period. Andersen, who made 28 saves, had blanked the opponent in back-to-back games.
Toronto star Auston Matthews, playing in his 100th career game, appeared to tie it 2-all with 3:50 to play but the goal was overturned after a replay review because of goalie interference by Zach Hyman.
“I thought it was going to be upheld,” Hyman said. “I think my stick hit his pad. ... I think the goalie had enough time to get across in position, but that’s how they’re calling goalie interference. ... Tough break for us.”
Said Raanta: “I felt their guy spear me and I went inside the net and couldn’t get back in time. Even though I was trying, I didn’t have enough time.”
Matthews, in his second game back from an upper-body injury that cost him four games, wasn’t happy with his performance. He finished with two shots on net.
“I didn’t play very well tonight,” Matthews said. “I don’t really like a lot of plays I made, just turned the puck over. I think it’s just a means of getting back to the level I was playing at before I was injured. It’s obviously frustrating.”
It took the Maple Leafs almost eight minutes to get their first shot on net and they were being outshot 10-1 at the midway mark of the first period.
Perlini put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 at 9:53 while on the power play, taking a cross-crease feed from Derek Stepan and wristing it over a sprawled-out Andersen.
Hyman had a good chance from in close to tie the game late in the period but was turned away by Raanta, who had the paddle of his stick down to close off the bottom of the net.
Toronto started to take control as the first period wore on and earned a power-play chance of its own that carried over with 1:53 of 5-on-4 time to start the second.
The Maple Leafs made use of that man advantage just 33 seconds into the period when van Riemsdyk put home a rebound for his team-leading fifth power-play goal and 11th overall.
Andersen made a big glove save on Christian Dvorak midway through the period to keep it tied, but Toronto ran into penalty trouble leading to Arizona’s second goal.
It only took Ekman-Larsson five seconds on a power play to beat Andersen with a point shot through traffic with 1:43 to go in the period as the Coyotes took a 2-1 lead into the third.
Shots were 17-16 Arizona after 40 minutes.
Toronto’s third straight minor led to the Coyotes starting the third with another power play, but it was Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown who had the best scoring chance, only to be stopped by Raanta.
Babcock shuffled his lines midway through the third looking for a spark to produce the tying goal. Toronto came up with a waved-off goal and hit two posts but was unable to manage an equalizer before Domi and Rieder scored empty-netters.
NOTES: Andersen was selected the NHL’s second star of the week earlier in the day. ... Niklas Hjalmarsson returned to the Coyotes’ lineup after missing 10 games with an upper-body injury. He left in the second period after going face first into the boards, but returned to the ice later in the game.
Coyotes: Host the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.
Maple Leafs: At the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.
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