GLENDALE, Ariz. – Martin Hanzal’s defence rarely has been in doubt. On Thursday, he showed he has the offensive skills to match.
Hanzal had his first three-goal game in the NHL, and Steven Reinprecht added a pair of third-period goals in the Phoenix Coyotes’ 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Hanzal’s parents, visiting from the Czech Republic, were at the game.
“It was great timing because they’re leaving tomorrow,” Hanzal said. “It was actually for them. It was amazing. I never scored two goals and then I scored the hat trick.”
Todd Fedoruk also scored, and Derek Morris and Ed Jovanovski added a pair of assists for Phoenix. The Coyotes have won four of their last five and finished 3-1 on their four-game homestand.
“There are so many ups and downs,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “It seems like just yesterday that for six games we couldn’t buy a win.”
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored twice, and Jason Blake had a goal and two assists for Toronto. The Maple Leafs have lost two straight.
“We didn’t look like we had anything in the tank in the third period,” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “They got us on our heels and we never, ever got it going.”
Phoenix’s week-long goalie saga took another twist when Mikael Tellqvist was pulled in favour of Ilya Bryzgalov after allowing three goals on nine shots in the first two periods. Tellqvist, the Coyotes’ backup, had started five of Phoenix’s last six games.
Bryzgalov stopped all nine shots he faced.
“We’re a team that needs all 23 guys contributing at all different times,” Gretzky said. “I felt Telly had got us to that point, Bryz had worked hard the last three games and we needed a pressure cooker out of him in the third. I had the gut feel it was the right time to make the change. I did it more to push the team.”
Reinprecht broke a 3-3 tie with 14:39 remaining. Morris’ blast from the top of the right faceoff circle deflected off Reinprecht’s legs and past Vesa Toskala.
“That’s a lot of goals, obviously,” Toskala said. “I couldn’t help the team more today.”
Reinprecht made it 5-3 with 5:38 to go, beating Toskala on a rebound from the inside hashes of the left faceoff circle.
“It was pretty basic,” Reinprecht said. “One just hit me, the other one was a rebound and I was in the slot.”
Fedoruk capped Phoenix’s three-goal third with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle with 3:52 to go.
“We’ve been struggling offensively so to get some rebound goals and to score more than two goals is a big momentum builder,” Reinprecht said.
Hanzal and Ponikarovsky exchanged goals in the first period, with the teams combining to score four times on four shots.
Hanzal gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead at 2:07 when he swept a long rebound past Toskala from between the circles.
Ponikarovsky made it 1-1 just 1:42 later when he pushed the puck between Tellqvist’s pads from the right side of the net and off the left post.
Hanzal’s second turn came at 12:05 of the period after Mikkel Boedker fired a shot wide off the glass behind the net. The puck ricocheted to Hanzal to the right side of the net and the centre chipped the puck toward the crease and off defenceman Anton Stralman’s stick into the net.
Ponikarovsky answered again at 14:13, again on a rebound after Dominic Moore’s pass in front bounced off Phoenix defenceman Keith Yandle’s skate and Tellqvist’s right pad onto Ponikarovsky’s stick.
Hanzal completed his hat trick 27 seconds into the third period, skating down the right side on a 2-on-1 break, pulling the puck left with the backhand and shooting once into Toskala’s right leg before putting away his own rebound.
“I just picked up the rebounds,” Hanzal said. “Jovo took a great shot and I got lucky on the first two goals and on the third, too.”
Blake tied it at 3 at 14:45 of the period on yet another rebound, this one off a shot by Moore that bounced to the bottom of the right circle.
Notes: Toronto right wing Jamal Mayers missed his second straight game because of a hand injury. … Tellqvist was playing in his 100th career game. Forty of his previous 99 games came with the Maple Leafs. … Toronto entered the game third in the NHL at 33.4 shots per game, but managed just nine over the first two periods – four in the first, five in the second – and 18 for the game.