Hinostroza scores winner, Coyotes beat slumping Maple Leafs
TORONTO (AP) The Arizona Coyotes are on a nice roll and just keep on winning in Toronto.
Vinnie Hinostroza scored in the third period and the Coyotes beat the slumping Maple Leafs 4-2 on Sunday night for their fifth win in the last seven games.
"We're really finding our identity here and how we want to play as a team," Hinostroza said.
After Toronto tied the score early in the third, the Coyotes came right back when Hinostroza tucked his fifth of the season shortside at 6:44 off a scramble with Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen down and out.
Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly hit the post at the other end soon after on a shot that stayed out. Playing for the third time in four nights, Toronto pushed for the equalizer again, but Crouse iced it into an empty net with his eighth with under 40 seconds to play.
"We played the right way," Keller said. "We came out a little bit slow, but I think when we settled down a little bit and stuck to our game plan."
John Tavares and Travis Dermott had the goals for Toronto, which has lost seven of its last 10 overall. The Maple Leafs dropped to 13-11-1 at home, including 1-6-0 in the last seven. Andersen finished with 27 saves.
"We're going through some adversity," Toronto's Auston Matthews said. "Hopefully in the long run this is something good for us and we learn from it."
Toronto currently sits just a point up on Boston and Montreal for second in the Atlantic Division, although the Maple Leafs do have games in hand.
"We've had some really good looks," Tavares said. "This is a great challenge of character and just a great opportunity to find a way to figure it out, solve that puzzle of getting to where we need to get to."
With his team in need of a spark down one through two periods, Tavares scored his 30th at 3:12 of the third when he fired a quick shot off Zach Hyman's faceoff win that was helped along by Mitch Marner.
Toronto controlled the play for long stretches with 76 shot attempts compared to the Coyotes' 51, but saw 30 of its efforts blocked.
"We had the puck a lot," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "I liked a lot of the things we did."
The Maple Leafs went up 1-0 at 11:45 of the first when Dermott took a pass from William Nylander and whipped a shot from the point through traffic for his third, and first since Dec. 8.
"Teams go through speed bumps," Dermott said. "It's just trying to figure it out and working back to that best game."
Kempe tied it at 2:16 of the second when he moved in alone on Andersen and deked to the forehand before depositing his third stickside. Toronto head coach Mike Babcock challenged for offside, but the play stood after video review.
Josh Archibald nearly put the Coyotes ahead later in the period when Andersen's clearing attempt hit the forward in the face and nearly ricocheted in, but the Andersen recovered to kick out his right pad.
Keller eventually gave his team its first lead with 4:41 left in the period when he moved down the left side and ripped a shot shortside on Andersen from below the face-off dot for his 11th.
"Hell of a shot," Andersen said.
Marner had three early chances, including a partial breakaway and another sequence where he deked around Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun only to shovel the puck over Kuemper's net.
Andersen had to be sharp as well, stopping Hinostroza with a nice toe save inside the game's first 10 seconds before stoning Alex Galchenyuk late in the period with a save that elicited chants of "Freddie! Freddie!"
NOTES: Toronto lost F Andreas Johnsson to a concussion after he took a hit along the boards from Arizona D Niklas Hjalmarsson and tumbled to the ice. ... Maple Leafs D Jake Gardiner sat out with back spasms. That opened the door for Dermott to move into Toronto's top-4 on the blue line alongside Nikita Zaitsev, who like Gardiner has struggled in recent weeks. ... Nylander, who came in with just one goal in 19 games since ending his contract impasse Dec. 1, was bumped to the fourth line. The assist on Dermott's opener was Nylander's first point since Jan. 3, snapping a stretch of seven games. Connor Brown was promoted to Nylander's spot in the top-six forward group to start the evening alongside Johnsson and Matthews.
Coyotes: At Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Maple Leafs: Host Washington on Wednesday night.
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Updated January 21, 2019