Arizona got the party started early with what would prove to be a big theme of the night, former Leafs getting involved. Just over two minutes in, Riley Nash shot the puck on net in what should have been an easy save for Petr Mrázek. Instead, Mrázek ended up knocking the puck up in the air, and Alex Galchenyuk knocked in the rebound to give the Coyotes an early 1-0 lead.
As the old saying goes, it’s better to be lucky than good.
Arizona’s luck continued, and again it was a former Leaf getting involved. Kessel received the pass at the Maple Leaf’s blue line and quickly brought it in. Kessel was able to get the puck over to a streaking Jakob Chychrun, who whiffed on his shot only to see the puck trickle into a wide-open net anyway.
it wasn't pretty but it was good. pic.twitter.com/eGCXvKdBdY— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 11, 2022
The Leafs attempted to challenge the goal saying that Kessel was offsides on the play. Toronto reviewed the goal and quickly ruled that he was not offsides because Kessel had control of the puck while entering the zone, per Rule 83.1.
Arizona would get the game’s lone power play thanks to the unsuccessful review but only registered a shot on goal during the power play.
Things were pretty close for the first period, but the Coyotes were in a good position thanks to some lucky bounces. Now it was up to them to keep up the pressure.
The second period started with the Coyotes getting another fortunate bounce. The top line was in full effect and buzzing around the front of the net. Travis Boyd managed to find a spot of open ice on Mrázek's right-hand side and knocked home a bouncing puck to make it 3-0 Coyotes.
this first line is no joke. pic.twitter.com/2sRVr27V13— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) March 11, 2022
Unfortunately, that seemed to finally start to wake up the Toronto Maple Leafs. Two minutes after former Maple Leaf Travis Boyd made it 3-0, current Maple Leaf Timothy Liljegren fired the puck from the point, and Wedgewood made the initial save. He couldn’t freeze it, though, and eventually, Pierre Engvall was able to tap it past Wedgewood to make it 3-1.
The goal could have been the start of another second-period collapse, but the Coyotes played it cool and didn’t let the Leafs take over.
Midway through the game, they were rewarded again when Mattias Maccelli picked up a turned-over puck and found Lawson Crouse on the blue line. Crouse found Christian Fischer, who shot the puck through traffic, bar down to make it 4-1 Coyotes.
That was the end of the night for Petr Mrázek, and Sheldon Keefe put in Erik Källgren to finish the game. It also seemed to be the wake-up call the Toronto Maple Leafs needed.
You knew that the Leafs would have a big third period, and boy did they. Alexander Kerfoot, Auston Matthews, and William Nylander all scored within 4 minutes and 39 seconds to tie the game at four. Matthews’ goal was a sneaky one that wasn’t initially called, but video review showed the puck completely crossing the goal line before quickly being kicked out by Wedgewood’s leg.
Despite being outshot 18-5, the Coyotes never gave up the lead, and the score remained tied 4-4 as regulation came to an end. Even if the Coyotes didn’t pull out the final win, they were still on their first four-game point streak of the season.
But the Coyotes were not happy with just one point, and midway through overtime, Matias Maccelli found a wide-open Jakob Chychrun who shot it home.
Matthews was upset by the call and immediately started giving the referees an earful. Admittedly, he had reason to be upset; Chychrun had tugged on him with his free hand immediately before the goal and probably should have been assessed a penalty. But referees are hesitant to call penalties in overtime, and in general, this was a game where they seemed to put away the whistles.
Either way, there wasn’t anything the Coyotes were going to do about it, and they walked away with the 5-4 win. It wasn’t their cleanest win, but the Desert Dogs have their first four-game win streak of the season and remain undefeated in the month of March.
- Jakob Chychrun - 2 goals
- Alexander Kerfoot - 1 goal, 1 assist
- Alex Galchenyuk - 1 goal, 1 assist
The Coyotes road trip continues, and they will play the Boston Bruins tomorrow at 5:00 pm Arizona time.
Update: Article was initially published with an incorrect spelling of Petr Mrázek's name.