ARIZONA COYOTES (21-22-4) at TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (29-16-2)
Sunday, 7 p.m., Scotiabank Arena
TV: Sportsnet, Radio: 1050 AM
THE BIG MATCHUP
F Clayton Keller vs. C Auston Matthews
Keller is one of the names to circle on the light-shooting Coyotes, with a game-opening goal Friday before a home overtime loss to the Penguins. The quickest Coyote ever to 100 points, he has the winner in four of their 21 victories. Matthews, recognized as Arizona’s greatest hockey export to date, could use a goal or two against his childhood team as a post-Christmas drought continues.
FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
Don’t let the dogs out
Recent losses to playoff-challenged teams such as Colorado and Florida should put the needed urgency in the Leafs’ effort, facing another lower-echelon team that has nonetheless run up a record of 7-0-1 against them in the past eight games. The Coyotes have been earning points of late, such as taking the Penguins to overtime on Friday.
Second and goal
Neither of these clubs has lost in regulation when leading after two periods, Toronto an impressive 22-0 after locking it down vs. the Lightning. It would be nice for Mike Babcock if his team went back to scoring its way out of trouble.
Toronto goaltender Frederik Anderson was very dialled in Thursday against Tampa Bay, and when that happens, good things tend to follow for the Leafs. Ex-Leaf Calvin Pickard is available for Arizona, but it has been Darcy Kuemper (4-0-1) of late who has been effective as well.
Scarborough’s Rick Tocchet gets a rare game at home behind the Coyotes bench, but there are no GTA players on this roster other than some OHL grads.
Bomb squad ready
One thing the inconsistent Leafs power play will be wary of in pre-scout meetings is the Coyotes’ league leading penalty killers. But two players who have potted a total of 10 short-handed points, Michael Grabner and Brad Richardson, are both hurt.
MAPLE LEAFS GAME DAY LINES
LW C RW
Andreas Johnsson John Tavares Mitch Marner
Zach Hyman Auston Matthews William Nylander
Patrick Marleau Nazem Kadri Kasperi Kapanen
Par Lindholm Frederick Gauthier Connor Brown
Morgan Rielly Ron Hainsey
Jake Gardiner Nikita Zaitsev
Travis Dermott Igor Ozhiganov
COYOTES GAME DAY LINES
LW C RW Forwards
Clayton Keller Jordan Weal Christian Fischer
Richard Panik Derek Stepan Vinnie Hinostroza
Alex Galchenyuk Nick Cousins Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse Mario Kempe Josh Archibald
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Niklas Hjalmarsson
Jakob Chychrun Ilya Lyubushkin
Jordan Oesterle Alex Goligoski
MAPLE LEAFS: RW Tyler Ennis (ankle)
COYOTES: G Antti Raanta (lower body), D Jason Demers (lower body), C Christian Dvorak (lower body), LW Michael Grabner (eye), C Nick Schmaltz (lower body), C Brad Richardson (upper body)
Toronto 21.7% (9th)
Arizona 18.5% (18th)
Toronto 81.1% (12th)
Arizona 87.1% (1st)