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game recap

Matthews scores for Maple Leafs against Coyotes in homecoming

Gets first NHL goal in Arizona to help Toronto to third win in four games

by Craig Morgan / Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auston Matthews arrived in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Sunday to spend the Christmas break with his family. On Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs center brought the party with him to Gila River Arena.

Matthews scored his first NHL goal in Arizona in his second game in his home state, and the Maple Leafs got goals from six players in a 7-4 win against the Arizona Coyotes.


[WATCH: All Maple Leafs vs. Coyotes highlights]


Matthews rented a suite for family and friends to watch the game, and at least 30, all wearing his jersey, swarmed him outside the Toronto locker room after the game.

"I love coming back so I lucked out pretty well, last year and this year, being able to spend Christmas here at home," Matthews said. "It was a great feeling, definitely one I'll remember. A pretty special goal."

Patrick Marleau had two goals, and Zach Hyman, Mitchell Marner, William Nylander and Connor Brown also scored for Toronto (23-14-1), which is 3-1-0 in its past four games. Frederik Andersen made 30 saves.

Video: TOR@ARI: Marner buries a short-side one-timer

Josh Archibald, Brendan Perlini, Jordan Martinook and Christian Fischer scored for Arizona (9-26-5), which is 2-8-1 in its past 11 games. Scott Wedgewood made 26 saves. 

"I'm running out of words to say what the problem is," Martinook said. "We're such a fragile group when something bad happens to us."

Video: TOR@ARI: Wedgewood denies van Riemsdyk with pad stop

The Maple Leafs scored three goals in a 2:30 span of the first period.

Hyman made it 1-0 at 8:55 when he stole a pass from Coyotes forward Derek Stepan and beat Wedgwood to the glove side on a breakaway for Toronto's second shorthanded goal of the season.

Matthews made it 2-0 at 10:58 when he beat Wedgewood high to the glove side for his 15th goal. The crowd erupted, with both Arizona and Toronto fans cheering him.

Nylander had an assist on the goal for his 100th career NHL point.

Marner made it 3-0 at 11:25 with a snapshot from the right face-off circle off a pass from Tyler Bozak.

Archibald cut the lead to 3-1 at 14:15 with his first goal. Perlini made it 3-2 off a backhand feed from Tobias Rieder at 15:32, but the Coyotes couldn't capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:44 early in the second period. Arizona is 0-for-11 on 5-on-3 power-play situations this season.  

Video: TOR@ARI: Archibald nets rebound in front

"I think it's a mental thing right now," coach Rick Tocchet said. "Power play is instinctive. You've got to make the right play. You've just got to make a play. You're not looking for a home run play."

Marleau extended the lead to 4-2 with a power-play goal at 9:15 of the second period, and Nylander made it 5-2 at 15:13 when he stripped Oliver Ekman-Larsson at the Coyotes blue line, went in alone and beat Wedgewood.

Video: TOR@ARI: Nylander, Marleau score 10 seconds apart

Marleau scored his second goal of the game at 15:23 for a 6-2 lead.

Martinook knocked in a rebound at 18:33 to cut the lead to 6-3.

Fischer made it 6-4 on the power play at 14:07 of the third period.

Brown scored into an empty net at 17:30 for a 7-4 advantage. It was the seventh time this season Toronto has scored six or more goals.

"We got a win here tonight and it's always nice for guys to score goals so that's positive as well," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "We made lots of good plays. We just didn't play very well without the puck."


Goal of the game

Hyman's goal at 8:55 of the first period.

Video: TOR@ARI: Hyman snaps SHG top shelf to open scoring


Save of the game

Andersen's save on Anthony Duclair at 16:54 of the first period.

Video: TOR@ARI: Andersen stretches for great right pad stop


Highlight of the game

Matthews goal at 10:58 of the first period.

Video: TOR@ARI: Matthews dangles, snipes for beautiful goal


They said it

"Everyone on this team can play top minutes. From our first to our fourth line, everyone has got great skill." -- Maple Leafs forward Mitchell Marner


"It's the ones that really stick the knife in. [Those are] the ones that we've got to get away from." -- Coyotes forward Jordan Martinook, whose team rallied from 3-0 down to pull within 3-2, then gave up three straight goals


Need to know

Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri left at 13:32 of the first period after taking a Lawson Crouse elbow to the head. Babcock said it's a good possibility Kadri will play Friday. … Marner has nine points (three goals, six assists) in a four-game point streak, and has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past nine games. … Bozak has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past four games. … Archibald has points in consecutive games (one goal, one assist) for the first time in his NHL career. … Coyotes forward Clayton Keller has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a seven-game point streak that matches the longest of his NHL career. 


What's next

Maple Leafs: At the Colorado Avalanche on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, SNO, NHL.TV)

Coyotes: At the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (4 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-A, NHL.TV)


Video: Marleau, Marner propel Leafs to 7-4 win vs. Coyotes

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