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The Wrap: Dzingel and Vejmelka Shine in Coyotes' Win Over Toronto

Forward nets two goals while goalie picks up 45 saves in thrilling victory

by Arizona Coyotes @ArizonaCoyotes / Arizona Coyotes

Final Score: Coyotes 2, Maple Leafs 1

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Ryan Dzingel, who returned to the lineup after missing the last seven games due to injury, scored two goals including the game-winner midway through the third period for Arizona in the team's 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night at Gila River Arena. Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka recorded 45 saves in goal to stifle the Maple Leafs' offense for his second win in his last three outings.

"It's a good rally point. We know we have a lot of guys who are out, and we hope those guys remain healthy, same with our coaching staff and trainers," said Assistant Coach Phil Housley, who spoke on behalf of the Coyotes coaching staff on Wedneday. "I think we rallied around that. We stuck together pretty tight in there and it was a great response for our team to step up like that. Especially at home against a really formidable opponent that's going to be very solid down the stretch. I tip my hat to the guys in that room they really fought hard tonight."

Vejmelka stopped all 20 shots he saw in the opening frame and helped the Coyotes kill two minor penalties to withstand the Maple Leafs' attack. Despite the shot differential, Dzingel grabbed the first goal with an unassisted marker to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead they'd take into the intermission. 

Video: TOR@ARI: Dzingel nets a loose puck in front of net

Vejmelka was 15-for-15 in shots faced in the second period to run his total to 35 through two periods. He concluded his unblemished frame with a string of three consecutive saves on William Nylander, Auston Matthews and T.J. Brodie in the waning seconds. 

"(Vejmelka) puts in a lot of work behind the scenes and he is prepared," said Dzingel. "That's what it is to be a goalie in hockey. You have to show up every night, you have to be prepared and do things the right way. For a young rookie he is unbelievably prepared and works his tail off. It is nice to have a goalie like him."

Toronto broke through 14 seconds into the third period when Matthews picked a corner with a shot from the slot. The Coyotes countered and regained the lead when Dzingel converted on an odd-man rush to put Arizona up 2-1 with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation.

Video: TOR@ARI: Dzingel taps home a nice pass for the lead

Vejmelka stood tall and rejected the final 10 Maple Leafs shots after the Matthews goal - including through 2:33 of a Toronto 6-on-5 attack - to finish with 45 saves on the night. The 2-1 win was the Coyotes' second in their last three games.

"I've played a couple more games and I've gained more experience after these games," said Vejmelka. "I feel better and better every game and that is something important for me."


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The Game: 
 
First Period (ARI 1, TOR 0): Ryan Dzingel (3), unassisted at 14:57.
Second Period (ARI 1, TOR 0): No scoring.
Third Period (ARI 2, TOR 1): Auston Matthews (24), assisted by Michael Bunting (15) and Jake Muzzin (10) at 0:14. /// Ryan Dzingel (4), assisted by Nick Schmaltz (6) and Alex Galchenyuk (4) at 12:42.


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Statistics: 
SOG: ARI - 18, TOR - 46
PP: ARI - 0/2, TOR - 0/2
Hits: ARI - 33, TOR - 23
Blocks: ARI - 22, TOR - 12
 
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Phil's Perception: "Toronto is going to get chances. They're a very good offensive team that doesn't need a lot of opportunities to execute and score. I liked the way we were opportunistic tonight. We scored first, which is really important for the confidence and our bench demeanor. Getting that big goal at the end; our special teams did a god job, and our penalty-kill was big - because of Vejmelka."

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Ryan Dzingel said: "I think it is just the same thing every night. (Vejmelka) stood on his head tonight and it was clear that we gave up a lot of grade-A's, but we are working on that. With the younger guys it is always tough because they did not get to dip their toe in like most of us did in league - I think I played two minutes my first game - and these guys are going head first. It will be good for them and good for their development." 

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Notable: 
 

•   Karel Vejmelka is the first NHL goalie to record three games of 45-plus saves in 2021-22. The last Coyotes goalie to tally three games of 45-plus saves in a season was Mike Smith in 2013-14. 
•   The 45-save effort made Vejmelka the sixth rookie goaltender since the NHL started tracking saves to notch multiple wins in a season with 45-plus saves. (Patrick Lalime [3], 1996-97; Mackenzie Blackwood, 2019-20; Jimmy Howard, 2009-10; Steve Mason, 2008-09; Mike Palmateer, 1976-77)
•   With 20 saves in the first period, Vejmelka has now registered 20-plus saves in a period with zero goals against twice this month (other: 20 saves, third period on Jan. 4 vs. Winnipeg).
•   Wednesday was the eighth instance since 1978-98 that a Coyote goaltender has recorded 20-plus saves in a period with zero goals against (source: NHL Stats & Info).
•   Vejmelka also crossed the 1,000 minutes played threshold, playing all 60.
•   Ryan Dzingel scored both Coyotes goals for his 10th career multi-goal game, tying his single-game career-high in the process. His last came on Oct. 8, 2019 with Carolina.
•   Dzingel's second goal was his first game-winning goal as a Coyote and first in his career since his second goal in the aforementioned two-goal game. His first goal tonight was his second career unassisted goal (Jan. 3, 2018 with Ottawa).
•   Travis Boyd skated in his 150th career NHL game, recording two shot son goal while playing 16:19.
•   Recalled to Arizona on Jan. 11, Victor Soderstrom suited up in his first NHL game since Nov. 2. On Wednesday, the defenseman played 11:45, blocked two shots and produced a plus-one rating.
•   Vladislav Kolyachonok made his NHL debut, the seventh player to play in his inaugural NHL game with the Coyotes this season. Kolyachonok saw 12:01 of ice time and threw a game-high seven hits. 

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Coyotes Lineup:
 

Forwards
Ladd - Boyd - Keller
Crouse - Larsson - Kessel
Roussel - Nash - Fischer
Galchenyuk - Dzingel - Schmaltz

Defensemen
Gostisbehere - Mayo
Moser - Lyubushkin
Kolyachonok - Söderström

Scratches
Eriksson
O'Brien

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Roster Notes: Forward Ryan Dzingel was activated off Injured Reserve and played in his first game since Dec. 10. Defensemen Vladislav Kolyachonok and Victor Soderstrom were added to the active roster and were deployed on the third pair. Goaltender Ivan Prosvetov was also added to the active roster and he served as Karel Vejmelka's backup on Wednesday. Forward Barrett Hayton, who is week-to-week with an upper-body injury, missed his second consecutive game.

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What's Next: Arizona heads to Colorado to begin a back-to-back series with the Avalanche, beginning Friday (Jan. 14) at Ball Arena. Puck drop with the Avs on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Arizona+ and Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. 

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Photo of the Game:
Ryan Dzingel sends the puck past Toronto goaltender Petr Mrazek for the eventual game-winning goal. The marker came at 12:42 into the third period and gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead they wouldn't relinquish. 

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Video Highlights:

Video: Dzingel nets both goals for Coyotes in a 2-1 victory

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