The Toronto Maple Leafs headed to Arizona and the cozy confines of Mullett Arena to take on the Coyotes, allowing Auston Matthews to visit family for the holidays before showing off in front of them on the ice.
It wasn’t #34 that wowed everyone first, or anyone wearing blue and white. It was Nick Bjugstad, goalless in five games, that scored the first goal, in the first minute.
Nick Bjugstad opens the scoring pic.twitter.com/cexDFqElsp— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Everyone is still a bit on vacation tonight.
Holl tries to catch the puck and falls, knocking Giordano down in the process pic.twitter.com/Yi7WnlLc6Z— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
It’s a slow game as the first period clicks down to 15:00. Leafs have just two shots, but have kept the Coyotes to one. No one is having a good time out there, mostly trading the puck off the boards and in the neutral zone.
Auston Matthews mixes things up, drawing an interference penalty in front of the Coyotes net, so the Leafs will get a power play early on and hopefully the man advantage gives them a boost.
great effort by Matthews draws a call— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Leafs to the PP pic.twitter.com/yRbrjrpNf5
The first half of the power play begins well with the Leafs doubling their shot total to four, but neither of the PP shots gets in.
this was a great play, the Nylander-Matthews connection continues to create pic.twitter.com/DRECRtxnHp— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
When the second power play unit gets on the ice Conor Timmins and Pontus Holmberg team up to tie the game.
PONTUS HOLMBERG 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
THE POWER IN POWER PLAY! pic.twitter.com/yCkMatHOlG
Newest Maple Leaf Dryden Hunt draws another penalty, so the Maple Leafs get a second chance with the man advantage shortly after scoring on their first.
Hunt draws a call— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Leafs back to the PP pic.twitter.com/xjXPvDPDsb
Right away John Tavares rings a puck off the goalpost, but it bounces the wrong way and heads out of the zone. William Nylander pings one off the post as well, and it goes into the miniscule crowd at the NCAA arena.
The second unit is out again as the power play comes to an end, but Conor Timmins sets up Calle Järnkrok who scores with one second remaining on the power play.
CALLE JARNKROK 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Bullet of a pass and a bullet of a release pic.twitter.com/mn2V0181QD
2-1 Maple Leafs.
Former Maple Leaf Michael Carcone gets tripped by John Tavares, so the Coyotes get their first power play of the game.
no thoughts just sliding pic.twitter.com/zKgmQoaux6— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Mitch Marner walks into the Coyotes end, almost scores a shorthanded goal backhanded.
Mitch Marner went London Knights mode on this penalty kill pic.twitter.com/1gQ4Albj7Z— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Matt Murray stands tall against the Coyotes power play, stopping all one of their shots.
Morgan Rielly is still looking for his first goal of the season, comes close a couple times, but is unsuccessful. After the slow start to the game, the power plays woke up the Maple Leafs and now they’re controlling almost every play.
The first period ends, with the Maple Leafs leading 2-1 in goals and 13-2 in shots.
The second period kicks off with a close call on the Leafs third goal, but it stays out. After that Dryden Hunt and hits Jack into the boards, and then McBain starts a fight over that. McBain gets the W on the tilt.
Hunt gets into a fight in his Leafs debut vs McBain pic.twitter.com/chG064i0Ie— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
started with a hit from Hunt on McBain that wasn't called pic.twitter.com/yDi1GBjtWs— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Pontus Holmberg gets a tripping penalty, things are nice and even now, and the Coyotes get another power play chance to tie the game. Or is it? Maybe it’s a Marner trip? Either way the penalties are even.
so that's a trip on Mitch then because they clipped skates, not Holmberg pic.twitter.com/yzMqinh64j— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
The Coyotes score right away on the power play, and the game is nice and tied as well. Hurray, everyone knows what they’re doing.
Jakub Chychun ties it pic.twitter.com/VdgVTgW7gr— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Tied at twos.
Michael Bunting is having a blast catching up with his former Coyotes teammates, he’s bouncing around with Lawson Crouse, Nick Ritchie, and then Mark Giordano wants some of that fun too. The scuffle ends with Bunting and Barret Hayton getting offsetting minors and we get some four on four.
Bunting reuniting with old teammates pic.twitter.com/wt6ohsy1B9— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
The Coyotes have kept the Maple Leafs from controlling play this period like they did the first, but just as the four on four ends Alex Kerfoot scores to give the Leafs back their lead.
ALEXANDER KERFOOT 🚨— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
buries the rebound pic.twitter.com/q2i8lWvkt3
3-2 Toronto halfway through the game.
Michael Carcone and Nick Bjugstad try to team up again to tie the game, thankfully they’re stopped. The Coyotes are picking up their play, matching the Maple Leafs speed as the second period is coming to a close. They aren’t making things as easy as they were before, but the Leafs hang on to the lead to head to the second intermission.
Nylander tries to go for the five-hole tuck pic.twitter.com/3QFhfCQjtF— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
After 40 the Maple Leafs lead 3-2 in goals, 23-11 in shots.
Early on in the third period Conor Timmins is called for high sticking Christian Fischer, and it takes longer than last time but the Coyotes score another power play goal and tie the game at threes when JJ Moser scores.
J.J. Moser ties it at 3 pic.twitter.com/j9Yx28XmEe— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Three all with 15 minutes left.
The Coyotes continue to pick up steam as the game moves on, they’re controlling the puck more, catching up on the Leafs in shots, and the Leafs momentum moves in the opposite direction with chances coming few and far between.
The Leafs push for a Morgan Rielly goal, then an Auston Matthews goal, but Karel Vejmalka is on top of his game tonight, poke checking and not allowing anything else past him.
Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting are working hard together to get the lead back, but the Coyotes keep intercepting their passes on the rush.
that's a good stick from Moser— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
Matthews could've loaded up the curl-drag-snipe pic.twitter.com/uFjalnhuIr
The Coyotes hard work pays off, and Jack McBain scores from a Lawson Crouse cross crease pass to give Arizona the lead with six minutes remaining.
Jack McBain gives the Coyotes the lead pic.twitter.com/HtncmabGqT— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
(I benched McBain in fantasy. That was my mistake.)
The Coyotes protect their lead well, clogging the slot and forcing any Leaf that makes it into their zone to shoot from a bad angle on the boards.
The Leafs go with an empty net with 2:30 remaining, and at 2:22 McBain scores the empty netter to make it 5-3.
an empty-net goal for McBain— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 30, 2022
second of the game pic.twitter.com/YG1nmSYuT8
After assisting on the first empty net goal, Barret Hayton scores the second. 6-3 Coyotes.
The Coyotes get their fourth straight win against Toronto, the Maple Leafs give up the most goals in a game this season, and we can all just go to bed.
Maple Leafs lose 6-3 to the Coyotes. They really faded as the game went on, giving up more and more ice to Arizona.
Next up is a New Years Eve game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche. I won’t see you there but I’ll most likely be drunkenly tweeting as NYE is one of the rare nights I indulge.
They better show up or I’ll be banned.