Maple Leafs knock off Coyotes in shootout

James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates winning the game in a shootout after stopping...

James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates winning the game in a shootout after stopping Antoine Vermette of the Phoenix Coyotes during NHL action at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Thursday December 19, 2013. (Dave Abel/QMI Agency)

Rob Longley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:19 AM ET

TORONTO - When the Maple Leafs are your opponent, there is no need to force the issue, no need for desperate measures to find a way to get back in a game.

No need to press the pace and create opportunities, no need to panic.

If we’ve learned anything about the team this season, the Leafs will take care of providing those chances, if you have the patience to wait for them.

It almost happened again Thursday night at the Air Canada Centre until Joffrey Lupul’s shootout beauty allowed the Leafs to escape with a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

The plodding, grinding ways of the Coyotes forced the extra period with a late goal, forcing the Leafs to sweat out their bid to snap their recent ugly streak.

Lupul pulled it out in a bizarre shootout when a deke at the hash marks followed by a head fake and a wrist shot up high to Mike Smith’s glove hand gave the Leafs the shootout win.

“We wanted to have a great bounce-back game after the last one,” said the game’s first star, James Reimer.



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