Three weeks. Twenty-one days.
That’s how long it has been since the last time the Arizona Coyotes tasted victory before Thursday night’s 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Arizona fell behind 1-0 early but continued to push, outshooting the Maple Leafs the entire way.
While the first 40 minutes were not kind to the Coyotes on the scoreboard, their fortunes quickly changed once the third period began.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson tied the game five seconds into the third period with a 114-foot short-handed goal from just in front of his own blue line. Martin Hanzal put the Coyotes in front 3:42 later, slipping the puck past Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier. A double deflection off Sam Gagner and Hanzal put Arizona in front for good with under four minutes to go in the game.
Arizona’s three-goal third period propelled them to its first victory of the season when trailing after two periods.
The Coyotes outshot the Maple Leafs in every period and 45-25 overall. Mike Smith stopped 24-of-25 shots for his eighth win of the season.
Not only did Thursday’s win snap a season-long losing streak, it was Arizona’s first road win of 2015.
Here’s how the Coyotes broke their long losing streak, by the numbers:
Before Thursday’s game, the Coyotes were 0-18-1 when trailing after two periods.
Special teams played a key role in the Coyotes’ victory. Their first goal came short-handed and their final goal came on the power play.
Bernier had never lost to the Coyotes before allowing three third-period goals in defeat on Thursday.
Ekman-Larsson’s goal five seconds into the third period tied Doug Smail’s record for fastest goal to begin a period in Coyotes franchise history. Smail scored five seconds into the first period in a game on Dec. 20, 1981.
Six different Coyotes recorded a point. Keith Yandle, Sam Gagner, Martin Erat, Martin Hanzal, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Lauri Korpikoski.
Lucas Lessio played 8:14 in his return to Air Canada Centre, a place where he watched the Maple Leafs as a youth. The team played a little prank on him before the game.
Antoine Vermette played in his 800th NHL game, and 200th with the Coyotes, on Thursday. He played 19:24 and won 75 percent of his faceoffs.