The Maple Leafs play the worst team in the NHL tonight, which is scheduled to begin well after Mitch Marner’s usual bedtime. The Coyotes have yet to reach the double digits in the win column, but they did come away with a 4-1 victory in Toronto back in November. Losing to Arizona once again would be just slightly infuriating.
Toronto Maple Leafs at Arizona Coyotes
9:00PM - Gila River Arena
TV: Sportsnet Ontario, NHL Live
SBN: Five For Howling
Zach Hyman- Auston Matthews- William Nylander
Patrick Marleau- Nazem Kadri- Leo Komarov
James van Riemsdyk- Tyler Bozak- Mitch Marner
Matt Martin- Dominic Moore- Connor Brown
Morgan Rielly- Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner- Connor Carrick
Andreas Borgman- Roman Polak
Brendan Perlini- Derek Stepan- Tobias Rieder
Clayton Keller- Max Domi- Christian Fischer
Lawson Crouse- Christian Dvorak- Josh Archibald
Jordan Martinook- Nick Cousins- Anthony Duclair
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Jason Demers
Jakob Chychrun- Alex Goligoski
Kevin Connauton- Luke Schenn
The Coyotes are awful. They rank last in the NHL at 5-on-5 in shot-attempt differential (CF%), goal differential (GF%), and expected goal differential (xGF%). Their powerplay is weak, and their penalty kill is simply around league average. Niklas Hjalmarsson is out of the lineup due to injury, Dylan Strome is buried in the minors, and their coach is hardly playing Anthony Duclair.
Arizona also played last night in Colorado, while the Leafs are well-rested. All the ingredients are in place for success, and it is up to the Leafs to go out and dominate against a weak opponent. Duclair will be particularly interesting to watch, as Elliott Friedman mentioned that Arizona is “working to find him a fresh start” in his latest edition of 31 Thoughts.
The Coyotes will likely look to get Stepan’s line matched-up against Auston Matthews, and Ekman-Larsson and Demers form a fantastic shutdown pairing. The rest of the Coyotes lineup is awful, and the Leafs boast the skill to capitalize. Clayton Keller is extremely talented, but his centre is currently Max Domi, so this line likely boasts major issues in the defensive end. If I was coaching the Leafs, I would look to get Matthews out against the Domi line as much as possible.
Lawson Crouse, who ranked ahead of Mitch Marner on NHL Central Scouting’s 2015 Final Draft Rankings, found his way into the lineup after Zac Rinaldo was suspended. Marner will also get to face-off against his former OHL line-mate in Christian Dvorak, while James van Riemsdyk will go up against the player he was traded for in Luke Schenn.
Enjoy the game.