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Knies, Matthews return home as Maple Leafs continue road trip into Arizona

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Photo credit:Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
Tonight will be the fifth and final game without Morgan Rielly in the lineup, as he is still serving his suspension for cross-checking Ottawa’s Ridly Greig, and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to extend their winning streak with a couple of homecomings for two players on Toronto.
Rookie Matthew Knies, born in Phoenix, Arizona, will have plenty of friends and family in attendance tonight and will visit Arizona for the first time as an NHL player. Knies was asked how many friends and family would be there to watch the game. “About 50 or 60, which is probably a section at that arena”, he told the media.
Auston Matthews is also returning home. For the seventh time in his NHL career, Matthews will play the Arizona Coyotes in Arizona as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and tonight, likely in front of many friends and family, he has the chance to be the first player in the league this season to reach the 50-goal mark.
Although getting a win is the most important thing at the end of the day, it’s hard not to think about the potential of Auston Matthews scoring again to reach 50 goals in his home state. Not only would scoring your 50th goal in your backyard and in front of friends and family be special, but 50 goals in less than 55 games would be ridiculous and would only increase his Hart Trophy odds.
However, for some reason, for Toronto, wins against Arizona haven’t been easy since the Matthews, Marner, and Nylander era began, especially in Arizona. According to Statmuse.com, the Maple Leafs are 4-6-2 against the Coyotes in their last 12 games dating back to the 2016-17 season. In those 12 games, Toronto is just 1-3-0 in their previous four games in the Coyotes’ home arena and are currently on a four-game losing streak against them dating back to the 2021-22 season.
Mix those stats with the fact that Arizona is currently on a 10-game losing streak, and their starting goalie tonight, Karel Vejmelka is a career 3-0-0 against Toronto with unbelievable numbers (2.00 GAA and .943 SV%) – it won’t be an easy task tonight for the road team.

Pregame details:

Toronto Maple Leafs’ lineup:

Matthew Knies – Auston Matthews – Mitch Marner
Tyler Bertuzzi – Max Domi – William Nylander
Bobby McMann – John Tavares – Nick Robertson
Pontus Holmberg – David Kampf – Noah Gregor
TJ Brodie – Timothy Liljegren
Simon Benoit – Jake McCabe
Marshall Rifai – Max Lajoie
One lineup note: Sheldon Keefe will be going with almost the same lineup as they did last game, but Noah Gregor draws back in for Ryan Reaves, likely given it’s a back-to-back with the Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow night.

Arizona Coyotes’ lineup:

Clayton Keller – Logan Cooley – Dylan Guenther
Matias Maccelli – Nick Bjugstad – Lawson Crouse
Alex Kerfoot – Barrett Hayton – Nick Schmaltz
Michael Carcone – Jack McBain – Jason Zucker
J.J. Moser – Mathew Dumba
Sean Durzi – Michael Kesselring
Juuso Valimaki – Josh Brown

Projected goalies:

Ilya Samsonov (TOR) vs Karel Vejmelka (ARI)

Broadcast:

Sportsnet, 10:00 pm ET/7:00 pm PT
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
(Projected lineups from dailyfaceoff.com)

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