All it took was one big hit for the Phoenix Coyotes to get on a roll on Thursday against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
When Mike Brown hit Ed Jovanovski towards the end of the second period, it lit a fire in the Coyotes that would not cease until the final buzzer. In front of 11,000+ at Jobing.com Arena, many of them Leafs fans, the Coyotes played one of their most inspired periods of the whole season.
Prior to that third period, it was a quiet game for both squads on Thursday night. Just one goal was scored heading into the third, courtesy of Radim Vrbata in the opening minutes of the game.
Then Brown hit Jovo, and all hell broke loose.
Though no penalty was called for Brown's hit, it resulted in four minor penalties, three of them to the Leafs, after the skirmish that took place as a result. Brown took his shoulder to the head of Jovo, resulting in retaliation from the latter, and a near brawl on the ice, which resulted in the minors.
The two teams started the third period at a four-on-four following the action, and Phoenix took early advantage. Shane Doan scored less than two minutes into the period to give the Coyotes a two-goal cushion.
From there, the domination began. The Coyotes would go on to score three more goals, with the only blemish in that period a Colby Armstrong goal. Taylor Pyatt, Lauri Korpikoski, and Keith Yandle all scored in the third for Phoenix.
With the win, the Coyotes have now won five of their last six, and proved on Thursday that they could not only play a finesse game, but they could grind out a physical win as well.
They'll need that brawn in a pair of holiday weekend division games, against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks.