Toronto Maple Leafs @ Arizona Coyotes
10:00 PM at Mullett Arena
Watch on: SNO, SCRIPPS

The Leafs last game was away on February 19 against the St. Louis Blues, which Toronto won by a score of 4-2 in regulation. The Leafs have a record of 30-16-8 for a 0.630 Points % and are undefeated with Morgan Rielly suspended.

The Arizona Coyotes last played at home on February 19 against the Edmonton Oilers. The Coyotes lost by a score of 6-3 in regulation, and their current league record is 23-28-4 for a 0.455 Points %.


Okay, first the disclaimer for the most sensitive fanbase not in Winnipeg: I think the concept of an NHL team in Phoenix is a good one. I think complaints about teams in places where the weather is warm are absurd on multiple levels. Nyah-nyah my team filled the rink for almost 50 years while they were bad on purpose is not actually the sick own people want to pretend it is.

However: This nonsense of playing in a tiny rink and then expecting the successful teams in the NHL to make up the dollars so it can just go on and on has to end. It should never have started. And that's on Gary Bettman. But the continuation is a business failure – possibly purposeful – of the owner of the Coyotes.

But the business side pales in comparison to the perpetual rebuild. Leafs fans old enough to remember Harold Ballard wanting the team to just make him money actually do know what it's like to sit and watch a team try to milk the fans or the NHL or the deep pockets of the top five or six other team owners for unearned money.

Auston Matthews and Matt Knies are the embodiment of growing the game. It's part of the legacy of the Coyotes. Which makes the current fiasco even more disgraceful because the NHL only grows if the fanbase expands.

Here they are again (from Evolving Hockey) stuck in the basement after that brief flirtation with .500:

Season GP W L OL Points Points% GF GA
16-17 82 30 42 10 70 42.7 197 260 -63
17-18 82 29 41 12 70 42.7 208 256 -48
18-19 82 39 35 8 86 52.4 213 223 -10
19-20 70 33 29 8 74 52.9 195 187 8
20-21 56 24 26 6 54 48.2 153 176 -23
21-22 82 25 50 7 57 34.8 207 313 -106
22-23 82 28 40 14 70 42.7 228 299 -71
23-24 55 23 28 4 50 45.5 160 178 -18

I look at Chicago, Montréal, San Jose and I see teams that are not trying to out-Buffalo Buffalo. I look at Arizona and I see a team that shouldn't be allowed to be in the NHL which is a failure for all hockey fans, not just those in places where we used to have snow in the winter.


Steve Peters

Clayton Keller - Logan Cooley - Dylan Guenther
Matias Maccelli - Nick Bjugstad - Lawson Crouse
Alex Kerfoot - Barrett Hayton - Nick Schmaltz
Michael Carcone - Jack McBain - Jason Zucker

J.J. Moser - Mathew Dumba
Sean Durzi - Michael Kesselring
Juuso Valimaki - Josh Brown

Karel Vejmelka - confirmed
Matt Villalta


Which defenders will actually play? That's the only real question. William Lagesson was at practice, but it looks like he's out and Rifai is in.


David Alter

Matthew Knies - Auston Matthews - Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi - Max Domi - William Nylander
Bobby McMann - John Tavares - Nicholas Robertson
Pontus Holmberg - David Kämpf - Noah Gregor

T.J. Brodie - Timothy Liljegren
Simon Benoit - Jake McCabe
Marshall Rifai - Maxime Lajoie

Ilya Samsonov
Martin Jones

The Game

The Leafs need to not make this game a homecoming party for Matt and Mats.

Otherwise, it's just the last game to grind through before Morgan Rielly returns.

Meanwhile, we need to stay awake.