Coyotes, Leafs meet in battle of sliding clubs

( - The Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs both have been unable to snap their lengthy losing streaks following the All-Star break.

One club will finally catch a break on Thursday night as the Coyotes visit the Leafs in a battle of teams riding seven-game losing streaks.

Arizona got the first crack at snapping its skid, but fell to 0-5-2 on its slump with a 4-3 shootout setback to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. That came despite the Coyotes scoring twice on their first four shots.

Connor Murphy and Martin Erat had the early tallies and Tobias Rieder also scored, while Mike Smith made 39 saves through overtime.

"We have to learn how to play a one-goal game. It's always nice when you come on the road and get a two-goal lead. You have to know and learn how to play with it," Erat admitted.

The last four setbacks from Arizona have come at the start of an eight-game road trip and the club has lost seven in a row for the first time since March 29-April 12, 2014.

However, the franchise has not lost eight straight since a club record-tying 10-game losing streak from Feb. 6-25, 1994 when it was still located in Winnipeg.

One thing in the Coyotes' favor is the fact that they have won seven of their past nine versus the Maple Leafs, including a 3-2 home victory on Nov. 4. Antoine Vermette had the deciding goal and Smith made 28 saves.

James Reimer had 30 saves in defeat for the Leafs.

Toronto went into Wednesday night's meeting with the New Jersey Devils having lost six straight in regulation, and though the Maple Leafs did not snap their skid they did at least earn a point with a 2-1 setback in a shootout.

James van Riemsdyk netted the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, while Jonathan Bernier stopped 22 shots.

"I thought we played a pretty solid game; the shootout is always a coin flip," van Riemsdyk said. "It's been a tough stretch for us, there's no hiding that."

Toronto fell to 3-14-1 in its past 18 games and played without captain Dion Phaneuf due to a hand injury, an ailment that is expected to sideline the defenseman on a week-to-week basis.

The Maple Leafs lost eight in a row from March 16-29 of last year.