Maple Leafs host Coyotes, fight the revenge factor

The Toronto Maple Leafs again face a team seeking revenge Thursday night when they take on the visiting Arizona Coyotes.They hope it works out better this time, since they were soundly beaten in th

Maple Leafs host Coyotes, fight the revenge factor

The Toronto Maple Leafs again face a team seeking revenge Thursday night when they take on the visiting Arizona Coyotes.

They hope it works out better this time, since they were soundly beaten in the second game of a back-to-back against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Toronto followed a 6-3 road win over Arizona by defeating Vegas 7-3 to cap a 4-0-0 trip before falling 6-2 at home Tuesday to the Golden Knights.

The loss ended Toronto’s seven-game winning streak.

The Coyotes are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night and are 0-1-1 to start their five-game road trip.

The Maple Leafs had a good start against the Golden Knights on their return from their trip but could not sustain it and were hurt by defensive lapses.

“Loved our start,” said Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe, who received a game misconduct with two minutes remaining in the game. “In fact, I thought it was our best start of the season. I thought it was better than any start we had on the road.

“We were really going, guys were flying, puck was moving well, our pace was outstanding, we had great scoring chances.”

Tyler Bertuzzi scored his fourth goal in two games for Toronto on Tuesday and Ryan Reaves also scored.

Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner’s 10-game point streak ended (three goals, 18 assists), as did Toronto center Auston Matthews’ six-game point streak (10 goals, four assists).

Matthews, who leads the league with 52 goals, has not scored in two games.

Toronto goaltender Ilya Samsonov had won six straight starts dating to Feb. 7 before Tuesday.

Maple Leafs forward William Nylander had the secondary assist on Bertuzzi’s goal, extending his points streak to eight games (six goals, eight assists).

Said Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly: “I thought they did a good job, obviously, and we just kind of got away from our game I think. They were opportunistic and they took advantage of their chances.”

Keefe cited Toronto’s comfort level as a contributing factor in Tuesday’s loss to Vegas.

“The puck didn’t fall for us and, because it was going so well, I thought we started to overdo it,” he said. “I thought we got too comfortable in the game. You can’t get comfortable against this team, they’re just too good defensively.”

Keefe declined to elaborate on his ejection, but was obviously annoyed by a tripping penalty given to Marner late in the third with the score 4-2.

“Not going there, not going there,” he said.

In their loss at Montreal, the Coyotes had a 38-21 advantage in shots on goal and did not take a penalty.

They are in a 0-11-2 drought.

“We had a lot of possession in their zone, quality shots, and their goalie (Sam Montembeault) stood tall,” Coyotes coach André Tourigny said.

“We always can find a few things. We could have had a little bit more traffic in front of him. We did not reload properly on two of their goals. There’s never a perfect game.”

Alex Kerfoot, a former Maple Leafs player, and Nick Bjugstad scored, and Connor Ingram made 17 saves for the Coyotes.

“We played really well,” Tourigny said. “The guys had a lot of emotion and drive. They played with a lot of passion. There was a lot of life on the bench.”