Chychrun scores twice as Coyotes blow lead but still beat Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime

Chychrun scores twice as Coyotes blow lead but still beat Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime

TORONTO — Jakob Chychrun scored his second goal of the game at 2:17 of overtime as the Arizona Coyotes blew a 4-1 lead in the third period before securing their fourth straight victory, 5-4, over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

Alex Galchenyuk had a goal and an assist, Travis Boyd and Christian Fischer also scored for Arizona (18-35-4). Scott Wedgewood made 34 saves for the Coyotes.

Auston Matthews added to his NHL-leading total with the star centre’s 44th goal of the season for Toronto (37-16-5).

Alexander Kerfoot, with a goal and two assists, Pierre Engvall and William Nylander provided the rest of the offence for the Leafs. A shaky Petr Mrazek allowed four goals on 12 shots before being replaced midway through the second period.

Recalled on an emergency basis with No. 1 goalie Jack Campbell nursing a rib injury for at least the next two weeks, Swedish rookie Erik Kallgren made seven saves in relief.

Chychrun scored the winner off a pass from Matias Maccelli after Matthews felt he was interfered with on the backcheck. And Toronto’s best player let the officials know it as the Coyotes celebrated.

Kallgren robbed Shayne Gostisbehere earlier in overtime before Wedgewood did the same at the other end.

Down 4-1 through 40 minutes, Kerfoot scored his 10th at 3:38 of the third to get Toronto within two. Matthews then moved in alone and slid his 44th at 8:07 past Wedgewood on a sequence that was allowed to continue before the buzzer at Scotiabank Arena sounded to halt play.

Nylander tied it just 10 seconds later when he slid his 23rd through Wedgewood to send the crowd into another frenzy as Toronto scored three times in a span of 4:39.

Kerfoot almost had his second of the night with three minutes left in regulation, but Wedgewood was there to deny him on the doorstep.

Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, who played six seasons with the Leafs from 2009 to 2015, was in the lineup after arriving in Toronto earlier in the day following the birth of his first child.

The 34-year-old played one shift in Tuesday’s 9-2 thrashing of the Detroit Red Wings to keep his ironman streak – it now stands at 957 straight contests – intact before jumping on a charter flight back to Arizona.

Poised for a run of games with Campbell sidelined, Mrazek had an ugly start to Thursday when he spilled Riley Nash’s long-range shot off his blocker into the slot. Galchenyuk, who played a total of 32 games with Toronto last season, was quickest to the loose puck to bang home his fifth at 2:09 of the first.

Mrazek’s night didn’t get any better 2:12 later when Chychrun’s fanned shot on an odd-man rush somehow dribbled over the goal line past the sprawling, stick-less netminder as Arizona scored on two of its first four shots.

Toronto tried to push back later in the period, but Wedgewood stopped Nylander on a nice chance after the winger was moved off John Tavares’ line by head coach Sheldon Keefe in hopes of sparking both players.

The Coyotes, who sat 40 points back of the Leafs in the standings heading into play, had scored a combined 17 times in two previous games prior to Tuesday, but still ranked 30th overall in goals.

The visitors kept their foot to the floor and made it 3-0 just 68 seconds into the second when Boyd – another ex-Leaf – banked a shot from below the goal line in off Toronto defenceman Timothy Liljegren.

Nick Schmaltz picked up an assist on the play for his 12th point in the last three games for the Coyotes, who beat Toronto 2-1 in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 12.

Engvall got the Leafs on the board at 4:55 when he banged home his 10th on a scramble, but Fischer ripped his fifth past Mrazek’s ear at 11:57.

That prompted Keefe to motion down the bench for Kallgren, a 2015 seventh-round pick of the Coyotes, to get ready.

The 25-year-old was met with warm applause from a crowd of 17,351 simply looking for a save from its goaltender, and he got a nice cheer on his first NHL stop moments later to help set the stage for a wild third.

Notes: The Leafs face the Buffalo Sabres outdoors at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field in the Heritage Classic on Sunday. … Coyotes winger Nick Ritchie, who was traded to Toronto in a deal that included defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin going the other way, has three goals and two assists in six games with Arizona after putting up just nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 33 contests with Toronto.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2022.

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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

NHL