GLENDALE — Auston Matthews scored in Toronto’s three-goal first period in his Arizona homecoming to help the Maple Leafs beat the Coyotes 7-4 on Thursday night.
Facing the Coyotes in Arizona for the second time in his career, the 20-year-old Matthews scored in his second straight game after missing six because of concussion-like symptoms.
With Toronto off since beating the Rangers on Saturday night in New York, Matthews spent the Christmas break with his family in Scottsdale. He feasted on mother Ema’s cooking and played golf with father Brian and younger sister Breyana, an accomplished junior golfer.
The family was out in full force at Gila River Arena in the Maple Leafs’ only Arizona visit of the season. Thousands of fans wore Toronto jerseys, with Matthews’ No. 34 the most popular. Patrick Marleau scored twice for Toronto, Zach Hyman, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Connor Brown added goals, and Frederik Andersen made 30 saves.
Josh Archibald, Brendan Perlini, Jordan Martinook and Christian Fischer scored for the NHL-worst Coyotes. Arizona was coming off a 3-1 victory in Colorado on Wednesday night. Toronto scored three goals in a 2 1/2-minute span midway through the first period, and added three more in a 6:08 stretch in the second to put it away.