Arizona Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue saves a penalty shot attempt

Arizona Coyotes Top Maple Leafs 3-2

Published On December 23, 2015 | By Jason Harrison | Gameday

The Arizona Coyotes squared off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night fresh off of a shutout victory over the Islanders on Saturday. They looked to continue their winning ways heading into the holiday break.

The Arizona Coyotes came into Tuesday night’s matchup against the Maple Leafs with the chance to head into the holiday break on a two game winning streak, not long after enduring a rough patch where the team lost eight of it’s nine games.

Louis Domingue was rock solid in net again, most notably saving a couple of shorthanded breakaways and a penalty shot in the first period. A surprise goal-scoring burst by the captain Shane Doan put the Coyotes ahead after a questionable penalty gifted the Maple Leafs a power play and subsequent goal. In the third period, a slapper from the point by Connor Murphy sealed the victory.

Arizona Coyotes win 3-2.

Here’s how it went down:

  • Since being a healthy scratch on the tail end of the team’s past road trip, Connor Murphy has taken his return to the ice by the reigns in a way that has to be encouraging for Dave Tippett. He notched the game-winning goal Tuesday while skating 22:51 on the ice.
  • Not much doing Tuesday  night for rookies Anthony Duclair and Max Domi. Domi has been held pointless in his last three games and hasn’t scored a goal in his last seven. He’s about due.
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to make questionionable passes and decisions in his own end. He is pressing hard and trying to do too much, which is resulting in his own stellar play continuing to reinforce the problem instead of becoming part of the solution. Hopefully the holiday break will allow him some time to get rested up and get sorted and be the leader on the back end this team desperately needs.
  • Louis Domingue started in net for the Arizona Coyotes for the second straight game and the results were once again impressive. He stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced on the night, including 31 of 32 at even strength. This team has been the victim of highly inconsistent  goaltending all year, with two or three great games followed by two or three subpar performances so it’s a bit early to anoint him the de facto starter going forward with Mike Smith out…however, the one thing I can say that is refreshing about Domingue is the control he shows in the net. There’s less flopping and lunging around like you see with Smith, and he seems more confident than Anders Lindback has at any point.
  • While the potential to score twenty goals on the season seemed distant for Shane Doan at the start of 2015-16, he now has 8 goals in 24 games and could realistically get near that magical number of twenty. He is now just three goals away from tying Dale Hawerchuk for the all-time franchise lead.

The Arizona Coyotes head into the holiday break with a 16-15-2 record and sitting 3rd in the Pacific Division. I don’t think many would’ve pegged the Yotes to be in a playoff position when Christmas break rolled around, but they also would not have pegged the Pacific to be as anemic as it has been.

With a little more than half the season to play, the Coyotes still have the opportunity to go either way – downward toward the Auston Matthews lottery, or upward towards playoff relevancy – and a lot of that will depend on the consistency of Domingue and Lindback over the next two months.

The Yotes next suit up on December 26th against the LA Kings. Beat LA and happy holidays!