By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez
Thanks to a four-goal explosion in the third period, the Coyotes opened a four-game homestand by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-1, Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The victory was the 1,000th victory in the history of the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise, which began play in the NHL in 1979-80 season.
The Coyotes (22-13-9), who have won three straight games and rank fourth in the Western Conference standings, started the scoring at the 2:05 mark of the first period when Radim Vrbata
's wrist shot beat Toronto goaltender James Reimer during a power play. It was Phoenix's first power-play goal since Dec. 29.
There was no scoring in the second period, but the game took a dramatic turn in the final minute after Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown delivered a hit to the head of Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski
. No penalty was called on the play. Jovanovski stayed down on the ice for a few moments after the hit and did not play again. After the game, the team reported that he had suffered a lower-body injury and that he would be re-evaluated on Friday.
The physical play continued after the hit, and three roughing penalties were called in the period's final 47 seconds.
"We need a guy like Jovo on the ice, and for a guy to take a run at him like that was just uncalled for," said Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle
, who capped the four-goal third period by scoring an empty-netter with 41 seconds left. "He's taking out one of our best players and he's a guy who's in and out of the lineup."
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Coyotes seized control of the game early in the third period. Shane Doan
started the scoring spree by notching his 11th goal of the season on a power play at 1:39 to give the home team a 2-0 cushion.
A pair of nice plays helped open the game up even more for the Coyotes. At the 4:52 mark of the third, Yandle fed a pass to Taylor Pyatt
in the slot, and he fired it past Reimer for his 11th goal of the season. Just under five minutes later, Coyotes winger Lauri Korpikoski
lifted a wrist shot into the net for his 11th goal of the season.
Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov
's bid for a third shutout of the season was spoiled at the 16:08 mark of the third period when Colby Armstrong scored for Toronto (18-21-4), whose four-game winning streak ended.
Bryzgalov stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced to pick up his 16th win of the season, while Reimer stopped 16 of the 20 shots he faced in the losing effort.
• The Coyotes haven't lost a game in regulation in 2011, going 5-0-2 in seven games and collecting 12 of 14 points
• Defenseman Michal Rozsival
, whom the Coyotes acquired from the New York Rangers on Monday in a trade for forward Wojtek Wolski, did not arrive in Phoenix in time for Thursday's morning skate, but he did skate alone later in the day. He likely won't make his Coyotes debut until early next week because of a minor upper-body injury.
• Center Kyle Turris
played in his 100th NHL game and marked the occasion by notching an assist and winning six of nine faceoffs.
• The Coyotes scratched Michal Rozsival
and David Schlemko
• The Coyotes' next game is Saturday vs. Anaheim at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on KFNN-AM (1510).