Toronto impress in Arizona win
Sheldon Keefe landed the first win of his career as an NHL coach on Thursday night when the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-1.
For Toronto, Fredrik Andersen contributed 30 saves and Pierre Engvall grabbed his first Maple Leafs goal in the NHL as the team brought a six-game run of defeats to an end just a day after the firing of Mike Babcock, the coach who had been in his fifth campaign with the team.
For the Coyotes, who came into the game with two straight wins and four wins in their last five matches, Vinnie Hinostroza scored late on in the final period and Darcy Kuemper came up with 29 saves, but it wasn’t enough to help Arizona clinch the win.
In each of their last seven games, the Maple Leafs had allowed the other side to score first, and they hadn’t secured the lead in regulation time in their last eight games since they won 3-1 against the Los Angeles Kings back at the start of the month.
However, this time they were able to take the lead thanks to good work from Tyson Barrie, a defenceman who had spent the last two seasons playing for the Colorado Avalanche, scoring 14 goals in each campaign.
He gave the Maple Leafs a crucial 1-0 lead shortly before the end of the first period when he fired in a powerful wrist shot from the face-off circle to record his first score for Toronto in his 24th game for the franchise.
Engvall, who was playing in what was only his second game in the NHL, made it 2-0 towards the end of the second period when he beat two Arizona players to get to the puck and scored a short-handed goal, the third for the Maple Leafs this season.
Arizona attempted to get back into the game, but they were unable to find a way through and Toronto secured the win with a third goal 48 seconds into the third through Auston Matthews, who hails from Scottsdale in Arizona.
Hinostroza grabbed a consolation goal for Arizona with only seconds remaining, but they were well beaten having gone into the game as slight favourites with sports betting companies.
Words: Stijn Janssen