Nick Schmaltz will try to keep his points production at a high level for the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night when the team visits the Toronto Maple Leafs and NHL-leading goal scorer Auston Matthews.
Schmaltz has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past two games after he had two goals and two assists Tuesday night when the Coyotes defeated the Detroit Red Wings 9-2 in the opener of a five-game road trip.
It followed Schmaltz’s franchise-record seven-point game (two goals, five assists) in an 8-5 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators on Saturday. His points total over the past two games also is a franchise best.
“It was fun out there,” said Schmaltz, who has 16 goals and 21 assists in 37 games. “And we’re creating a lot out there. Stuff is going in. Things are going really well.”
Matthews also was prolific on Tuesday, scoring three goals in a 6-4 home victory over the Seattle Kraken to increase his overall total to 43. Aided by an empty-net goal, it was his third hat trick this season and the sixth of his career.
“It’s hard not to [think about 50 goals],” Matthews said. “I just focus on each game and try to stay present every day, not get too ahead of myself.”
The Maple Leafs have scored 11 goals in winning their past two games, and the Coyotes have scored 19 goals on their season-best three-game winning streak.
Arizona’s nine-goal game was the first for the franchise since it was relocated from Winnipeg before the 1996-97 season. The Coyotes became the first NHL club since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins (March 24-26, 1996) to score eight goals in consecutive games.
“I think we have a little bit of puck luck sometimes,” Coyotes coach André Tourigny said. “That’s a hockey season. Sometimes you play really well and have a lot of chances, but you can’t find the back of the net, but sometimes the puck bounces off your stick in really fortunate situations. Right now, we’re confident, we have momentum, and we know we can score.”
Said Arizona’s Clayton Keller, who had one goal and two assists on Tuesday: “When you get confidence, it stays there, and you make better plays with the puck. When you have chances to score, you’re not missing the net, it’s going to go in the net.”
The Maple Leafs again let a lead slip away on Tuesday. Seattle overcame a 3-1 disadvantage to take a 4-3 lead in the third period before Matthews and Mitchell Marner scored 40 seconds apart.
“It’s disappointing once again that we gave up the lead,” Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. “That’s not what we want. I liked the fact we just kept playing and found a way to win the game. Once we had the lead in the third, I liked a lot of how we played from that point on.
“Right now, what we’re trying to fix is having that level of commitment and discipline in the second period when we have those leads.”
Toronto goaltender Jack Campbell, who has struggled recently, made 26 saves on Tuesday.
“I gave up four but I’m not going to beat myself up too hard tonight,” he said. “I’m going to look at it and keep working on some details, but I felt much better.”
The Coyotes defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1 at home on Jan. 12.
NHL, OLGC announce multiyear partnership
The NHL and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. are joining forces. The two organizations announced a multiyear partnership Wednesday that marks the NHL’s first sports-betting partnership in Canada. Last month, the OLG signed a five-year deal with the NFL to become its first official sportsbook partner in Canada. The OLG becomes an NHL partner for sports betting on both its Proline+ digital sports platform and the new Proline product at retail lottery outlets across Ontario. The OLG also receives distribution rights to the NHL’s official logos and cross-promotion across league digital and social channels.
The Canadian Press
Lafleur, McDonald and St-Pierre named to Order of Hockey in Canada
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. Hockey Hall of Famers Guy Lafleur, Lanny McDonald and Kim St-Pierre have been named to the Order of Hockey in Canada class of 2022. Lafleur had a storied 17-year career, primarily with the Montreal Canadiens. He is the franchise’s career leading scorer with 1,246 points and led the team to five Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s. McDonald co-captained the Calgary Flames to the franchise’s first, and so far only, Stanley Cup in 1989. Over a 16-year NHL career with the Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Rockies, McDonald recorded 1,006 points in 1,111 games. His No. 9 was retired by the Flames in 1990. St-Pierre ranks first among goaltenders in games played (83), wins (64) and shutouts (29) in the history of Canada’s women’s team. She helped Canada win three Olympic gold medals, five women’s world championships and two Clarkson Cups during her storied career. Established in 2012, the Order of Hockey in Canada honours individuals for their contributions to developing hockey in Canada.
The Canadian Press