Coyotes Sink Slumping Maple Leafs – Hinostroza With Winner

TORONTO — Vinnie Hinostroza scored the winner in the third period as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Sunday night.

Clayton Keller, Mario Kempe and Lawson Crouse, into an empty net, had the other goals for Arizona (22-22-4). Darcy Kuemper stopped 25 shots.

John Tavares and Travis Dermott replied for Toronto (29-17-2), which got 27 saves from Frederik Andersen.

The Leafs have now lost seven of their last 10 overall and sit just 13-11-1 at home — including 1-6-0 over their last seven — following a fourth straight regulation loss at Scotiabank Arena.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, are 8-0-1 in the franchise’s last nine trips to Toronto and improved to 5-1-1 over their last seven.

Vinnie Hinostroza Arizona Coyotes
Arizona Coyotes’ Vinnie Hinostroza celebrates with teammates. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

After the Leafs tied the game early in the third period, the Coyotes came right back when Hinostroza tucked his fifth of the season shortside at 6:44 off a scramble with Andersen down and out.

Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly hit the post at the other end soon after on a shot that stayed out.

Playing their third game in four nights following Friday’s 3-1 road loss against the Florida Panthers, the Leafs pushed for an equalizer, but Crouse iced it into an empty net with his eighth with under 40 seconds to play.

With his team in need of a spark down one through two periods, Tavares scored his 30th at 3:12 when he fired a quick shot off a Zach Hyman faceoff win that was helped along by Mitch Marner to awaken a slumbering Scotiabank Arena for a short-lived tie game.

Down 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes, the Coyotes tied it at 2:16 of the second when Kempe moved in alone on Andersen and deked to the forehand before depositing his third stickside.

Toronto head coach Mike Babcock challenged for offside, but the play stood after video review. The Leafs killed off the ensuing penalty for delay of game.

Josh Archibald nearly made it 2-1 for the visitors later in the period when Andersen’s clearing attempt hit the Coyotes forward in the face and nearly ricocheted in, but the Leafs goalie recovered to kick out his right pad.

Keller eventually gave his team its first lead with 4:41 left in the period when he moved down the left side and ripped a shot shortside on Andersen from below the face-off dot for his 11th.

The Leafs then lost winger Andreas Johnsson to a concussion after he took a hit along the boards from Arizona defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson and tumbled to the ice.

Toronto’s power play — just 6 for 51 over its last 20 games — went to work late in the second, but the NHL’s No. 1 penalty-killing unit held firm.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs bench (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)

A target of boos during a 6-3 home loss to the Colorado Avalanche last Monday and again by a section of travelling fans in Thursday’s 4-2 road victory over the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning, Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner sat out with back spasms.

That opened the door for Dermott to move into Toronto’s top-4 on the blue line alongside Nikita Zaitsev, who like Gardiner has struggled in recent weeks.

The Leafs went up 1-0 at 11:45 of the first when Dermott took a pass from William Nylander and whipped a shot from the point through traffic for his third, and first since Dec. 8.

Nylander, who came in with just one goal in 19 games since ending his contract impasse Dec. 1, was bumped to the fourth line. The assist on Dermott’s opener was Nylander’s first point since Jan. 3, snapping a stretch of seven games.

Connor Brown was promoted to Nylander’s spot in Toronto’s top-6 forward group to start the evening alongside Johnsson and Auston Matthews — another Toronto star struggling to find his offensive rhythm with only one goal in his last 12 outings before Sunday.

“When I talked to Willy (before the game), he knows he’s getting in his own way now,” Babcock said Sunday morning. “We’re just going to take the heat off him.

“He told me exactly what he’s got to do. He’s a good kid and good player and good person.”

Marner had three early chances, including a partial breakaway and another sequence where he deked around Coyotes defenceman Jakob Chychrun only to shovel the puck over Kuemper’s net.

Andersen had to be sharp as well, stopping Hinostroza with a nice toe save inside the game’s first 10 seconds before stoning Alex Galchenyuk late in the period with a save that elicited chants of “Freddie! Freddie!”

Notes: Martin Marincin dressed for the first time in 11 games in place of Gardiner, who is listed as day-to-day. … The Leafs have just one more game between now at Feb. 1 — Wednesday’s home date with the Washington Capitals — with Toronto’s league-mandated bye week coming on the heels of the all-star break. … The Coyotes visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.


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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press