TORONTO -- James Reimer was a surprise starter in goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night with Jonathan Bernier widely expected to get the nod.
It turned out just fine for the Maple Leafs. Reimer stopped 34 shots in regulation and then made a big save in the shootout as the Maple Leafs defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 to end a two-game losing streak.
"Bernier has been nursing an (undisclosed) ailment and hasn't skated in the last two days," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "So we thought it would have kind of been unfair to put him in the situation. We decided at the morning skate when Bernie said he wasn't 110 percent and we said that's OK, we'll go with Reimer."
Reimer was on the verge of his second shutout of the season as the Maple Leafs were trying to make a first-period goal by right winger Troy Bodie stand up.
But Coyotes center Martin Hanzal scored late in the third period to force overtime and then in the shootout. Maple Leafs left winger Joffrey Lupul scored the decisive goal after each team found the net once after the first two rounds.
Mike Smith made 26 saves in the Coyotes' goal in regulation.
"We wanted to play a hard road game, a simple road game," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We were almost too simple in the first period. We didn't create anything. But our tempo got better as the game went on. We had multiple opportunities in the third period to tie and then take the lead and we got the one we needed."
The Maple Leafs (18-16-3) snapped a two-game losing streak in winning for the second time in seven games. The Coyotes (18-10-6) have lost three in a row.
Toronto left winger James van Riemsdyk scored first in the shootout, a call made by referee Paul Devorski with Smith pressed against the post and the puck difficult to see. A video review was inconclusive, so the call stood.
"I didn't see it," Smith said. "From what everyone says in here on the replay, none of them said it showed it had gone in. I guess there was only one guy in this whole building who saw it go in and it was him (Devorski), so I guess you've got to respect his call."
Phoenix left winger Mikkel Boedker answered with a goal. Toronto left winger Mason Raymond and Phoenix right winger Radim Vrbata missed. Lupul scored and Reimer stopped center Antoine Vermette to clinch the win.
"Tonight was just a really solid team effort," Reimer said. "I'm really proud of the way the guys worked. It was a good game all around. We played solid for 60 minutes. I thought we contained them well and fought hard. Everyone bought it in."
The Maple Leafs opened the scoring at 15:52 of the first period. Bodie scored his first goal of the season and his first as a Maple Leaf, flipping in a 10-foot backhand shot off the rebound from a shot by defenseman Cody Franson. Center Peter Holland also picked up an assist.
The Maple Leafs held their 1-0 lead through a goal-less second period in which they were outshot 12-8.
Toronto had the best scoring chance of the second period at 15:11 with the teams playing four skaters each as the result of minor penalties. Franson stole the puck in the neutral zone, steamed down the right wing before feeding center Holland, whose shot was blocked by defenseman Derek Morris. Lupul then had his shot stopped by Smith.
The Coyotes tied the score at 15:08 of the third period on Hanzal's ninth goal of the season, a wraparound effort. Defenseman Rostislav Klesla, just called up from Portland of the AHL, and Vrbata earned assists.
"They were really coming at us," Carlyle said. "They really started to pinch their defensemen at the end of the second period and that gave us some issues, that's for sure."
Smith said, "It was just a chess match in the first. I thought we really started moving our feet and getting the puck down low and playing in their end more.
"We definitely take some good things out of that game. It's not all bad. We did a lot of good things in the third period to give ourselves a chance to get a point."
NOTES: Phoenix D Zbynek Michalek (lower body) was injured in a 3-1 loss at Montreal on Tuesday night and will be out of the lineup indefinitely. ... Coyotes RW Shane Doan (illness) remains out of the lineup and LW Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) is on injured reserve. ... D David Rundblad, D David Schlemko and LW Paul Bissonnette were scratched by the Coyotes. ... D Paul Ranger (upper body), D Mark Fraser and LW Frazer McLaren were not in the Maple Leafs' lineup. ... C Trevor Smith (broken hand), C Dave Bolland (left ankle surgery), RW Colton Orr (elbow bruise) and C Tyler Bozak (strained oblique) are on injured reserve for Toronto. ... The Maple Leafs recalled C Jerred Smithson from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.