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Preview: Matthews is home to remember why he loves playing in Toronto

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After beating down the Knights, the Leafs look to take care of the Coyote problem

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Arizona Coyotes
To make it fair, Matthews has vowed to not use his skates when playing the Coyotes
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs at Arizona Coyotes

Time: 7:00PM Eastern

Location: Gila Lizard Arena, the wrong side of town

Broadcast/Streaming: CBC, Sportsnet, NHL Live

Opponent SBNation Site: Five For Howling - Under new management

The Maple Leafs first game in the desert went very, very well as they doubled up the score against the Golden Knights. Now, as you’ve probably heard a dozen times since the Maple Leafs landed, Auston Matthews has returned to his childhood home to play the team that inspired him to take up the game of hockey. It’s an adorable story that we’ll no doubt hear every single dang time the Leafs are in Arizona for the next five years.

Speaking of five years, that’s how long Matthews contract is! And then he’s a free agent which obviously means he’ll be pulling a Tavares and playing for his childhood team. This is wrong for several reasons. He’ll stay in Toronto, and here’s why:

No player in Toronto ever had to change houses because of a scorpion infestation.

The city of Toronto doesn’t hate the Maple Leafs

The Scotiabank Arena is located in an easy to reach location, central to transit and major highways.

Plus, it will be hard to leave a team that’s just won five Stanley Cups. I mean, who would do that?

Maple Leafs lines

Forward Lines

Zach Hyman - John Tavares - Mitch Marner
Patrick Marleau - Auston Matthews - Kasperi Kapanen
Connor Brown - Nazem Kadri - William Nylander
Par Lindholm - Frederik Gauthier - Tyler Ennis

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Ron Hainsey
Jake Muzzin - Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner - Travis Dermott


Frederik Andersen
Garret Sparks

Arizona Coyotes lines

Forward Lines

Richard Panik - Derek Stepan - Vincent Hinostroza
Alex Galchenyuk - Nick Cousins - Clayton Keller
Christian Fischer - Jordan Weal - Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse - Brad Richardson - Josh Archibald

Defence Pairings

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Alex Goligoski - Jakob Chychrun
Kevin Connauton - Jordan Oesterle


Darcy Kuemper
Calvin Pickard

Round one vs Boston Bruins

Toronto Team Boston
Toronto Team Boston
3-2 Record 2-3
14GF - 14GA Goal Differential 14GF - 14GA
27.3% - 5th Power Play 35.7% - 2nd
64.3% - 15th Penalty Kill 72.7% - 12th
Auston Matthews - 4 Most Goals Bergeron, Krejci, Pastrnak, Marchand, Coyle - 2
Morgan Rielly - 4 Most Assists Brad Marchand - 4
Auston Matthews - 5 Most Points Brad Marchand - 6
Nazem Kadri - 19 Most PM Charlie McAvoy - 6
Morgan Rielly - 24:34/G TOI Leader Charlie McAvoy - 16
Frederik Andersen - .925sv% Starting Goalie Tuukka Rask - .922sv%

Alex Galchenyuk is the Coyotes top scorer with 12 goals. Maple Leafs list of 12+ goal scorers is:

John Tavares - 33
Auston Matthews - 27
Mitchell Marner - 21
Kasperi Kapanen - 18
Andreas Johnsson - 15
Nazem Kadri - 15
Morgan Rielly - 15
Patrick Marleau - 13

Yeah, even “old, busted, salary cap ruining” Patrick Marleau would be the Coyotes top scorer. Hmmmm....

Now, it’s not fair to judge too hard, that’s for the Star and Sun writers to do later today when they post their crowd-size pictures from the press box with their clever ten years ago captions.

There’s not a lot to fear on the Coyotes. They have several talented players that John Chayka will trade for two slightly not as good players at the draft, they have five goalies to choose from including former Maple Leafs Calvin Pickard, they have long time NHL great Marian Hossa - who replaced Coyotes great Pavel Datsyuk - as well as Stanley Cup winning centre Dave Bolland down the middle.

One area the Leafs need to focus on is the power play. The Knights penalty kill was getting the best of them on Thursday night, and now the Leafs face the best penalty kill in the league. Hopefully there were some power play drills being done yesterday and at pre-game skate.

Get the win, and take that momentum to St. Louis to finish the road trip with four wins in a row.