Maple Leafs Make Furious Third Period Comeback; Lose in OT to the Coyotes

On Thursday evening the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Arizona Coyotes at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. This was the first meeting between the two teams since Arizona bested the Leafs in a 2-1 win in Glendale, in which the Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka made 45 saves.

Vejmelka wouldn’t be in goal on this evening as he had the night off in replace of Scott Wedgewood, with Petr Mrazek playing his opposite in the Leafs net.

Early Thursday morning at Leaf practice it was revealed that Jack Campbell would miss roughly two weeks due to a lingering rib injury, causing the Leafs to recall Erik Kallgren from the AHL Marlies.

It was Mrazek’s net to lose for the time being, and he did himself no favours almost immediately.

Just a little over two minutes into the game a seemingly harmless dump in at the Leafs blueline saw Mrazek try to bat the puck down and away from the net but instead it ended up redirecting right onto the stick of former Leaf Alex Galchenyuk for his fifth goal of the season.

Arizona fielded plenty of former Leaf talent in the game with Galchenyuk, Travis Boyd, Riley Nash, Nick Ritchie and former assistant captain Phil Kessel all playing in the game with all but Ritchie picking up points on the night.

Mrazek’s night went from bad to worse just a little over two minutes later when Kessel found himself on a two-on-one with Jacob Chychrun, as he slid the puck over the sprawling Leaf defender, Mrazek was caught in no mans land as Chychrun fanned on his shot but the puck still crept into the net giving the Yotes a 2-0 advantage heading into the break.

Tweet Credit: @ArizonaCoyotes

Arizona came out strong to open the second period as well as they had a few good chances in the opening minute to extend their lead when finally Travis Boyd whacked home a loose puck in the air that most of the Leaf defenders lost sight of to give him 12 goals on the year, as he is having a fairly decent campaign with the Coyotes.

Pierre Engvall got the Leafs on the board just under five minutes into the frame with his 10th goal of the year as he reaches the double digit goal mark for the first time in his NHL career.

Arizona would regain their three goal lead again midway through the second period when Christian Fischer would wire home his fifth of the season after a misplay by the Leafs in the offensive zone led to a rush chance for the Coyotes.

Fischer’s goal would be the last goal Sheldon Keefe would need to see before yanking Mrazek from the Leaf net, giving the 25-year-old Stockholm native Kallgren his first minutes in an NHL game.

Kallgren would end the Leafs night strong by making 10 saves in relief.

Toronto would come into the third period firing on all cylinders and it would pay off. Alexander Kerfoot would score just three and a half minutes into the frame cutting the Leaf deficit to two goals, as he continues to have another productive season.

Just a little under halfway through the third period, the Leafs would score twice in 10 seconds when Matthews tucked home his 44th goal of the season which initially wasn’t ruled a goal until further review revealed that Wedgewood’s heroics would be for not as the puck did pass the goal line.

Nylander would make the Scotiabank Arena pop when he converted on a breakaway chance to tuck home his 23rd goal of the season and giving him two goals in two games as the Leafs would tie the game and take it into OT.

Tweet Credit: @MapleLeafs

In overtime Kallgren would be called on to make a game saving save on a Coyotes two on one before Matthews sent the puck up ahead to a streaking Nylander who was robbed by Wedgewood, just barely keeping the puck from crossing the line.

On the ensuing play it appeared that Auston Matthews was having his stick pulled by Chychrun but no call was made on the play before Chychrun was loose on another two-on-one this time with Matias Maccelli and this time the Coyotes buried the puck and the Leaf comeback to take a 5-4 win and their fourth straight victory.

Tweet Credit: @twistedleafs

After the play Auston Matthews was visibly livid with the officiating crew as he and most of the Leaf bench came out to have words with the referees before heading back to their locker rooms and face the media.

Matthews told reporters, “I felt what I felt”, after the game and didn’t comment after on the officiating crew after.

Toronto will head to Hamilton to take on the Buffalo Sabres at Tim Horton’s Field on Sunday afternoon in what is surely to be another testy affair with the Sabres, while Arizona looks to continue its winning ways when they look to make it five wins in a row on Saturday when they head to Boston to take on the Bruins.


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