Game 57: Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Arizona Coyotes
Scotiabank Arena, 7:00 PM
TSN/Fox Sports Arizona
The Toronto Maple Leafs play host to the Arizona Coyotes tonight, and the Yotes fans will make hungry eyes towards hometown hero Auston Matthews and dream of him coming home in four and a half years.
In the meantime, Arizona is still fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot.
Andreas Johnsson - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Alexander Kerfoot - John Tavares - Zach Hyman
Kyle Clifford - Jason Spezza - Kasperi Kapanen
Frederik Gauthier - Pierre Engvall - Dmytro Timashov
Sick: William Nylander
Jake Muzzin - Justin Holl
Rasmus Sandin - Timothy Liljegren
Travis Dermott - Tyson Barrie
Scratched: Martin Marincin
These lines may be preposterously wrong because there is some sort of illness going around the Toronto Maple Leafs lately that has at different times felled William Nylander (now apparently returning), John Tavares and Justin Holl. Will they play? Will they vomit all over the ice? We don’t know!
We were originally led to believe Frederik Andersen might be starting tonight, but he’s still not quite 100%, so it’s another game of new guy Jack Campbell. Win for him, Leafs.
Taylor Hall - Christian Dvorak - Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse - Derek Stepan - Phil Kessel
Clayton Keller - Nick Schmaltz - Vinnie Hinostroza
Carl Soderberg - Brad Richardson - Christian Fischer
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Ilya Lyubushkin
Jakob Chychrun - Alex Goligoski
Jordan Oesterle - Niklas Hjalmarsson
These lines are also a little up in the air, particularly in net, where the Coyotes always have a goalie who is good but is injured at least half the year. The Coyotes have several really excellent wingers who you may have forgot play for their hockey team, including our old friend Phil Kessel and boating enthusiast Taylor Hall. Kessel has picked it up somewhat after a slow start and Hall has been good since Arizona traded for him, although that hasn’t stopped people wondering if the Yotes will turn around and flip him before this trade deadline.
They probably won’t, because they are still in the hunt, because Arizona needs to give its fans something to be excited about and because the Pacific Division is ass-butt (at time of writing, the Leafs have more points than literally all of the teams in it, despite the Leafs being ninth in the East in points.) And if the Coyotes get the outstanding goaltending they occasionally have recently, they can beat anyone, for a little while.
Still, this is a pretty mediocre team. Not bad! And not great. I do not know what John Chayka can do about it other than gamble with term that his players turn into stars (they mostly haven’t) and violate the draft combine rules (he might get fined a large amount of money.) Arizona has been trying of late—they’re actually capped out now, and the only dead money they’re doing it with is Marian Hossa’s zombie contract—but they’re in a tough spot. If Taylor Hall walks in the summer, it’ll feel tougher still.
I wish them luck with all that. Just, uh, hopefully after we crush them tonight. Go Leafs Go.