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'Yotes Notes: Arizona Banks Another Win in Toronto

The Coyotes are 7-0-1 in their past eight games played at Maple Leafs

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

TORONTO -- The Coyotes continued their dominance of the Maple Leafs in games played at Toronto with a 4-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

Arizona is 7-0-1 in its past eight games played in this hockey hotbed, and it outscored the Leafs, 27-16, in those games. The Coyotes have not lost a game in regulation in Toronto since Oct. 17, 2002.

"(Toronto) is a dangerous hockey team," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's one of those games we knew we had to play a certain way if we were going to have a chance to beat them ... Obviously we flushed the first 20 games down the drain, but I just think the last seven, eight, nine games we're playing the right way for longer stretches. Guys are staying into the moment. We're not going off the grid. It was just a good team win."

 

Video: Tocchet: 'Playing the Right Way'

Clayton Keller notched two assists, Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a textbook power-play goal and Antti Raanta made 27 saves to key Arizona's victory, its third in a row to end a four-game trip vs. Canadian teams. 

The Coyotes set the tone by dominating play early in the first period; they out-shot the Maple Leafs, 6-0, in the first three minutes.

"I think we had a good start and Antti made some big saves early," Keller said. "That was a real good first period for us and we just kind of carried that through the whole game."

Video: Keller: Wanted to Turn the Page

• Auston Matthews appeared to tie the score at 2 with a goal at 16:10 of the third period, but the Coyotes challenged the goal citing goaltender interference on Toronto's Zach Hyman. Arizona won the challenge, then scored two empty-net goals to secure the win.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Explanation of Coach���s Challenge at 16:10 of the third period in the @ArizonaCoyotes/@MapleLeafs game. #ARIvsTOR https://t.co/BmX3dHMtB4

"You never know, but I felt that their guy speared me and I went inside the net, couldn't get back in time even though I was trying," Raanta said. "I didn't try to sell it too much. I just tried to get back to the play straight away, but I didn't have enough time."

Video: Raanta on Key Disallowed Goal

Raanta has earned three consecutive wins and he stopped 90 of 97 shots in those games.

"The last seven, eight games has been really good," Raanta said. "Now everybody knows what they're doing, everybody trusts the system, everybody's working hard and learning all the time, so now when you get a couple wins, you get your confidence going and it's so much easier to work hard when you have good confidence." 

• Ekman-Larsson's goal came just five seconds into a power play late in the second period. Christian Dvorak won a face-off to Max Domi, who passed to Keller, who passed to Ekman-Larsson in the high slot. His shot beat Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen.

"I think the last seven, eight games, he's been really taking charge," Tocchet said of Ekman-Larsson, who skated 24:54, took seven shots on goal, delivered one hit and blocked three shots. "When he gets that puck in the middle ... that's his forte, that hard wrist shot with traffic. He's scored a lot of goals that way."

Ekman-Larsson's goal was his 26th career game-winning goal, the most among NHL defensemen since he made his League debut on Oct. 9, 2010.

Brendan Perlini gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead when he scored a power-play goal at 9:53 of the first period. Perlini's father, Fred, notched two goals and three assists in eight games for the Maple Leafs in the early 1980s. 

• Arizona is 4-3-2 in its past nine games after starting the season 1-12-1.

"It's a funny game, isn't it?" Perlini said. "We lost how many games in a row? You can win that many games in a row. And it all starts just from one. You get momentum and confidence and ride the wave. Hopefully, it doesn't stop."

Video: Perlini: 'Just Feeling It Right Now'

Niklas Hjalmarsson returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury vs. Philadelphia on Oct. 30.

Hjalmarsson played 19:41, notched an assist, took two shots on goal and blocked three shots. At one point, he took a nasty tumble headfirst into the boards but kept playing. 

"He got his neck banged up," Tocchet said. "We were a little nervous about it, but he was fine." 

• Max Domi scored an empty-net goal with 1:06 left in the third period. The goal was Domi's second of the season and his first since the season opener vs. Anaheim on Oct. 5.

• Jakob Chychrun joined the team in Toronto and skated with teammates at Monday's morning skate. Chychrun is working to get back into the lineup after undergoing off-season knee surgery. There is no official timeline in place for his return.

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