"We've found out winning's fun," defenseman Jake Gardiner said.
"We want to keep it going, though."
Gardiner and centers Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri each had a goal and
an assist in the Maple Leafs' 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes
at Jobing.com Arena.
The Maple Leafs, who led 3-0 after two periods, are on their longest
winning streak since a five-gamer from Jan. 26-Feb. 7, 2007.
Kessel, who scored his 24th goal of the season, has four goals and
12 points in his past six games.
"With 'Kes,' he's a kid that can score goals. The puck finds him,"
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "He doesn't need very many chances
to score goals. When he gets hot, he's one of those guys that
everything he shoots has a chance to go in. He has a skill set that
the puck follows him around, and those are signs of great players."
Kessel scored on a power play and assisted on Gardiner's goal as the
Leafs took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Defenseman Carl
Gunnarsson scored his first goal of the season to make it 3-0 after
"You never want to have a zero in that column, right?" said
Gunnarsson, who scored for the first time in 82 games.
Coyotes center Mike Ribeiro scored on a power play at 5:35 of the
third period, tipping a pass from defenseman Keith Yandle into an
open net to make it 3-1. Yandle has five assists in his last four
The Coyotes scored on a power play for the eighth straight game,
their longest streak since moving to Phoenix in 2003.
Kadri gave the Maple Leafs a three-goal lead again when he scored on
a power play to make it 4-1 lead with less than six minutes
Phoenix center Antoine Vermette capped the scoring with 5:01
remaining, collecting the Coyotes' first short-handed goal of the
Goalie Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves for Toronto (26-20-5), which
lost four in a row before its current winning streak.
"Our (competitive level) is higher," Bernier said of the reason for
the recent swing. "Especially the last two games, our start has been
great, and we all know in this league if you get the lead, it is
[to top of second column]
The Coyotes put pressure on Bernier from the middle of the
second period on, but they could not break through during the
game's first 45 minutes.
"It's disappointing," Vermette said. "We had a lot of great
scoring chances. (Bernier) played a good game for them in front
of the net."
Goalie Mike Smith had 25 saves for Phoenix (23-17-9), which had
won two in a row after a four-game losing streak.
"It's some turnovers, some mistakes and just failure to execute
and capitalize on chances," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.
Gardiner scored his fourth goal of the season on a wrist shot
from right out in front for a 1-0 lead at 16:17 of the first
period. Gardiner skated in on the right side and threw the puck
along the boards behind the net. Kadri directed it back to
Gardiner, who had continued on toward goal.
Kessel scored on a wrist shot from the left circle on a power
play two minutes later for a 2-0 lead. Smith was screened on the
shot by Toronto left winger James van Riemsdyk, who was
stationed in front of the net.
Gunnarsson scored his first goal of the season at 5:10 of the
second period for a 3-0 Leafs lead.
NOTES: Linesman Steve Barton did not work the third period after
taking a hard hit at the boards from Maple Leafs C Jay McClement
late in the second period. ... Toronto's only previous win over the Coyotes in Arizona was
a 5-4 decision on Oct. 23, 2003. ... Coyotes C Martin Hanzal
(lower body injury) did not play Monday and is considered
day-to-day, the Coyotes said. Hanzal, who was fined $5,000
Friday for a high-sticking incident in a 1-0 victory over the
Vancouver Canucks last Thursday, has three goals in his past
seven games. ... Coyotes RW David Moss and Toronto RW Phil
Kessel are first cousins. Moss' team is 5-2-1 in the meetings
between the two. ... Coyotes C Antoine Vermette (360) and D
Keith Yandle (352) will rank Nos. 3 and 4 on the active
consecutive-games list when Vancouver C Henrik Sedin (679)
misses Tuesday's game due to rib and finger injuries. ... Coach
Dave Tippett earned his 450th career victory and his 100th home
victory with the Coyotes on Saturday. Tippett's home winning
percentage (.643) is the best in franchise history.
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