Arizona Coyotes lose in a ‘dud’ against hungry Maple Leafs
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes on Thursday played a “dud” against the Toronto Maple Leafs, aiding their opponent in breaking what had been a six-game losing streak.
The Leafs (10-10-4) fired coach Mike Babcock on Wednesday and badly needed a win, and they got it under new head coach Sheldon Keefe. Toronto beat Arizona 3-1, outshooting the Coyotes 33-31 as Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves.
The Coyotes fell to 13-8-2 on the season.
“Honestly, I thought we had a really good practice [on Wednesday],” head coach Rick Tocchet said. “I thought we were prepared. We had a day off the day before. The energy level wasn’t there. Honestly, I told the boys after, it was a dud. We didn’t have too many this year, but it was a dud.”
Tyson Barrie got a much-needed first goal of the season for Toronto. Leafs rookie Pierre Engvall scored his first NHL goal, and local product Auston Matthews added one of his own for his 15th of the season. Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza scored his third of the season with 17 seconds remaining to end Toronto’s shutout bid.
“They were skating. We weren’t. It wasn’t system, tonight,” Tocchet said. “They wanted it more. They were jumping and we weren’t.”
Frederick Andersen made 30 saves for Toronto. He was good, although he wasn’t challenged consistently by the Coyotes. Arizona also went 0-for-3 on the power play and gave up a shorthanded breakaway goal to Engvall on the first one.
Tocchet had talked this week about not just getting a better power play percentage, but scoring more often on big power plays.
“We had that power play and it was 1-0, we had two glorious chances,” Tocchet said, referring to a man advantage in the second period. “We didn’t score, and obviously it was a careless play by a couple people and they got the breakaway. That’s a two-goal swing, right? If we score there, maybe that gets juices going, it gets us in the game. So it was really about execution.”
The Coyotes’ next game is against the L.A. Kings on Saturday, a 2 p.m. start. Arizona just hosted the Kings and beat them on Monday, 3-0. The Coyotes will be looking for a bounce-back, to say the least, although they’ll have the advantage of not facing a team that just made a coaching change and is desperate for a win.
“We knew that they were going to come out a little bit better than what they’ve been playing the last couple games,” Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “And I kind of felt like we weren’t really ready for that and can’t really push back, and gave up some bad goals.
“Too many mistakes and we didn’t really defend good enough. If we’re not defending hard and the way we’re supposed to, we look like that.”
The Coyotes were charged with 13 giveaways, which ties for their fourth-most in 23 games this season.
“We weren’t very good,” Brad Richardson said succinctly. “It’s pretty simple.”