Preview: Coyotes at Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are clinging to third place in the Atlantic Division and the playoff berth that goes with it as they host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Toronto has lost three of its last four games, two of three (1-1-1) without No. 1 goaltender Frederik Andersen, and leads fourth-place Florida by two points.
“The whole league is on the bubble,” Maple Leafs veteran Jason Spezza told reporters. “I don’t know if anybody’s too confident with where they’re at right now if you look at the standings. Since (Sheldon Keefe has) been our coach, our record’s been good (20-9-4). I think we’re a team that’s trending in the right direction. I think we have our warts like everybody else, and we’re trying to work through it. But for the most part, we’ve done a lot of good things since Sheldon’s been coach, and we need to continue building - and I think we’re in a really good position.” Arizona erased a two-goal deficit and won for only the second time in its last nine games, 3-2 at Montreal on Monday when Jakob Chychrun scored a power-play goal with one minute remaining. The Coyotes on Monday were expected to have No. 1 Darcy Kuemper in goal for the first time since Dec. 19 but he sustained an injury during the morning skate. Toronto won the first meeting this season 3-1 on Nov. 24 behind 30 saves from Andersen, who is eligible to come off the injured list and play Tuesday.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: FS Arizona Plus, TSN4
ABOUT THE COYOTES (28-23-7): Antti Raanta made the start in Montreal after missing Saturday's 4-2 loss at Boston with a lower-body injury so if Kuemper cannot go Tuesday, Adin Hill will likely get the call. Clayton Keller has recorded an assist in each of the last two games, including the 100th of his career Monday. Chychrun has scored in two straight games and boasts 12 this season to extend his career high.
ABOUT THE MAPLE LEAFS (29-19-8): Auston Matthews, who has thrown his hat into the Hart Trophy candidate's ring, was kept off the scoresheet Saturday after recording four goals and three assists in the previous three games to extend his team leads to 40 goals and 68 points. John Tavares (23 goals) has five tallies and seven points in his last four games. Jack Campbell is 1-0-1 and stopped 54-of-60 shots in two games since being acquired from Los Angeles on Wednesday to mind the fence while Andersen recuperates.
1. Toronto RW William Nylander (25 goals) has missed the last two games because of illness.
2. Arizona C Carl Soderberg (13 goals, 29 points) hasn't scored in 13 contests and is stuck on 99 for his career.
3. The Maple Leafs are 6-for-15 on the power play in their last five games and own the league's No. 3 unit.
PREDICTION: Maple Leafs 3, Coyotes 2