1. Yotes bring early pressure, take game's first lead on power play. The Leafs were riding an NHL-season-best six-game win streak prior to Monday's game, but it was the Coyotes who put the pressure on early, outshooting Toronto 10-1 to start the night and forcing the Buds into taking the game's first penalty. Arizona made that subsequent power play count, as winger Brendan Perlini netted his fifth goal of the year to put the visitors ahead 1-0 at the 9:53 mark.
The Leafs found their stride toward the end of the first frame and wound up getting the final seven shots of the period while earning a man advantage with 7.4 seconds left before the intermission, but the Yotes entered the night on a two-game win streak of their own, and their burst of energy to begin the game made the difference in the first 20 minutes of action.
Video: ARI@TOR: van Riemsdyk ties game with nice PPG
2. Leafs even things up to start second on van Riemsdyk's goal with man advantage. Winger James van Riemsdyk had four goals in his past four games, and he made it five in five when he batted a rebound past Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta just 33 seconds into the middle frame to register his 11th goal of the year and a power play marker that evened the score at a goal apiece.
The goal was van Riemsdyk's 11th of the season, moving him one goal behind centre Auston Matthews for sole possession of second place in scoring on Toronto's roster. Nearly half (five) of the 28-year-old veteran's goals this season have come with the extra man, and nearly half (eight) of his points (17) this year were registered on the power play.
3. Toronto gets into penalty trouble at end of second, Coyotes capitalize to take lead entering third. Toronto struggled with its discipline as the second period concluded - taking two minor penalties in a 73-second span - and Arizona made them pay on their third power play of the night when blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his third goal of the season to put them back in front 2-1 at the 18:17 mark.
The Leafs were called for three penalties in total in the middle frame, and although the Coyotes don't have one of the league's better power plays, Toronto gave them too many opportunities to not eventually regret it.
4. Toronto gets into penalty trouble at end of second, Coyotes capitalize to take lead entering third. The Coyotes continued an aggressive forecheck in the third period that gave the Leafs fits and disrupted their attempts to build some momentum on offence, but Toronto's players also didn't help matters with poor puck decisions and an inability to break through Arizona's defence. The Buds failed to hit double-digits in shots in either of the first two periods, and in the third, they managed 11 shots on Raanta. But it wasn't enough, as it turned out, to undo the damage that was done in the first two frames.
5. Matthews goal gets reversed on coach's challenge late in regulation, Coyotes score empty-netter to win. It appeared that centre Auston Matthews scored the game-tying goal with 3:50 left in regulation when he made a terrific short side top-shelf shot from in close, but Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet challenged the play for goalie interference, and the officials ruled in favor of Arizona, nullifying the goal and preserving the Yotes' lead.
The ruling angered the ACC crowd, but although Toronto tried valiantly to tie the game in the final minutes, they couldn't get another one past Raanta and Arizona added a pair of empty-net goals to secure the win and put the Leafs in the losing column for the first time since a Nov. 4 defeat to St. Louis. The Buds now head out on the road for a pair of games (against Florida Wednesday and Carolina Friday) and need a better all-around effort to beat some desperate squads before heading home to face the Washington Capitals Saturday.