Two games is hardly a streak, but the way the Arizona Coyotes have played to begin the 2014-15 season, it sure feels like one.
The Coyotes looked a lot like the successful teams of old -- controlling the puck early and often, scoring first and holding on for the win. Arizona followed that formula on Tuesday night en route to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Arizona started fast, scoring two goals in the first period and tacking on one more early in the second to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
"I think we found it in Washington, a lot of energy, and we finally decided to put some pucks in the net," Martin Erat said. "It helps us with the confidence and everything else."
An enormous 5-on-3 penalty kill in the opening period with no score put momentum on the Coyotes' side. They would find the back of the net 30 seconds after killing off both penalties.
Sam Gagner opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games. A Jake Gardiner turnover behind Toronto's net landed on the stick of Lauri Korpikoski who swatted it over to Gagner for the one-timer.
Erat followed up with his fourth goal of the season, more than he scored all of last season. His reluctance to recollect last season after the game is a sign he has moved on from a forgetful 2013-14 campaign.
The Coyotes held Toronto to just three shots in the first period and kept up the pressure early in the second.
Another loose puck behind Toronto's net ended up inside it as Antoine Vermette collected the puck he failed to score on a 2-on-1 and successful completed the wrap-around to push Arizona's lead to three.
The Coyotes struggled to keep up the pressure with the big lead and the same PK unit that kept the game scoreless in the first period would let them down twice in the latter two periods.
Dion Phaneuf and Cody Franson scored power play goals to cut Arizona's lead to one. The Coyotes bended but did not break, holding on for the one-goal victory.
"The first period I thought we played very well, moving our feet, we were dictating the play...lots of good things. The special teams kind of jumped in there in the second and took some rhythm out of the game. The third period I thought the execution wasn't as good as it needed to be in some critical situations, we iced the puck and turned it over a couple times and gave them some momentum, but we were able to close it out," coach Dave Tippett said.
"(Mike Smith) had a strong game which was great to see, and we'll take the points and move on."
Smith had his third solid game in a row, stopping 28-of-30 shots for his third consecutive game with a .914 save percentage or better.
Tippett and the Coyotes would like to see a little more of Tuesday's 3-2 win instead of Sunday's 6-5 win.
"Well if you give up two goals you’ve got a chance," Tippett said of the way he wants his team to play. "If you give up five…"
[Toronto's perspective: Pension Plan Puppets]
1. Antonie Vermette - Scored the GWG playing more than 20 minutes.
2. Mike Smith - Stopped all but two of 30 shots.
3. Martin Erat - Really finding his groove with his fourth goal of the season.
The Coyotes have a few days off before traveling to Anaheim to face off against the Ducks on Friday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m.