The Toronto Maple Leafs looked to continue their winning ways on the road against the injury-plagued Arizona Coyotes, but could not generate any consistent offensive pressure in a 2-0 loss at the Gila River Arena on Saturday.
Alex Galchenyuk and Josh Archibald scored in a span of 2:40 in the second period and that was enough for Darcy Kuemper, who made 21 saves for his second shutout of the season.
Toronto managed only five shots on goal by the midway point of the game and only eclipsed the 20-shot mark late in regulation with Frederik Andersen pulled for the extra attacker. The Leafs could not break through on the power play, going 0-for-3 (including a double-minor to Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the second period).
“I thought we started real good, we owned the puck for eight straight minutes and that was it for the night. The next 52 were theirs.” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said after the game. “(The Coyotes) played harder, they were above the puck, they did things right, they did exactly what we said they were going to do. We created a plan to have success against it, but we didn't work hard enough to make that happen.”
It appeared that Toronto had narrowed the Coyotes lead to 2-1 in the third period, as William Nylander propelled the puck in midair off his shoulder and past Kuemper, but officials after video review ruled that the Leafs forward had made contact with a high stick.
Nylander flips the puck up and over behind him and into the net, but the refs call it a no goal for high sticking. pic.twitter.com/D8pF3R4QP4
Toronto will complete their six-game road trip in St. Louis on Tuesday against the red-hot Blues, who have won nine straight games.
It is likely that most NHL clubs are putting the finishing touches to their scouting prep this weekend, since most of their efforts in the final week leading up to the trade deadline will be focused on negotiating deals. The Leafs had a scout at the Red Wings - Flyers game in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.
Both Detroit and Philadelphia are expected to be sellers before February 25th and have players that Toronto may have interest in, such as defensemen Radko Gudas and Nik Jensen, and forwards Luke Glendening and Wayne Simmonds.
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