Maple Leafs 5, Coyotes 4

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PHOENIX (AP)—Owen Nolan has been around long enough to know scoring slumps don’t last.

He went six goal-less games in the fishbowl of Toronto hockey before breaking out with two goals and an assist in the Maple Leafs’ best offensive showing this season, a 5-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.

“I’ve had empty nets and I’ve missed the net,” the 13-year veteran said. “And I throw the puck from anywhere, and it goes in tonight, so you’ve just got to keep plugging away.”

Nik Antropov, Joe Nieuwendyk and Ken Klee also scored for the Maple Leafs, who came in with 10 goals in six games.

Nieuwendyk had his second goal in two nights after scoring the winner at Dallas on Wednesday, leaving Nolan as the last of the team’s big guns without a goal.

“He was pressing,” coach Pat Quinn said. “I mean, let’s face it, that’s a lot of stuff on his shoulders. A lot of people were waiting for him to be the Owen Nolan we want to have, because he can play.”

The Leafs had five goals before the second period ended, and needed them to withstand the Coyotes in the third.

Leafs goalie Mikael Tellqvist made his first start ahead of Ed Belfour because of Toronto’s back-to-back road games.

Tellqvist made 12 of his 29 saves in the third period, allowing Ladislav Nagy’s second power-play goal of the game in that frame. But his strongest stretch was in the first period when the Coyotes had a five-on-three advantage for two minutes and he preserved a 1-0 lead.

“Five-on-three, you have to make those saves,” he said. “Sometimes you have those little lucky saves.”

Jan Hrdina and Daymond Langkow had the other Phoenix goals, but goaltender Sean Burke dropped his second straight 5-4 decision.

“Very similar to the Philadelphia game (Saturday),” coach Bob Francis said. “We seemed a bit rusty. It has been a while since our last game.”

The Coyotes have lost three in a row since the franchise’s first 3-0 start in 15 years.

Nagy scored on a wrist shot from the circle to give Phoenix a 2-1 lead 5:31 into the second period. He fooled Tellqvist with another wrister that went in off the crossbar 7:43 into the third after a pass from Shane Doan.

But Tellqvist was solid the rest of the way.

Antropov, Nieuwendyk and Klee scored in a 2:24 span of the second, taking a 4-2 lead 9:31 in when Nolan sent a crossing pass from the top of the circle to Klee, who tapped it in from just outside the crease.

Nolan was in the circle again for the game-winner, firing a shot past Burke’s stick hand with 3:04 left in the second.

“Their four goals in the second period was the difference,” said Burke, who had 18 saves. “That’s my job to keep the puck out of the net, and I didn’tdo it.”

Notes

Coyotes C Mike Sillinger, sidelined since Oct. 1 by hernia surgery, played his first game for Phoenix. The Coyotes obtained Sillinger from Dallas last summer. … The Leafs finished a five-game road trip 3-1-1. … Toronto had held three consecutive opponents to 16 shots or fewer since allowing 33 in an overtime game at New Jersey on Oct. 16. … Coyotes RW Landon Wilson playedin his 300th NHL game.

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