for this game

Coyotes clip unlucky Panthers

Dec 21, 2011 - 4:19 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Jason LaBarbera watched the first two periods on the bench before he was called upon to relieve an injured Mike Smith early in the third.

LaBarbera turned aside all eight shots he faced, including a penalty shot by Florida's Stephen Weiss with 25 seconds to play, to preserve a 2-1 victory for the Phoenix Coyotes.

"[LaBarbera's] role on our team is just that. Whenever he is called upon, he's got to do his job. Great to see him jump in there and do it," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett.

Smith suffered a possible groin injury while stretching to stop a shot by Panthers defenseman Jason Garrison at the 3:29 mark.

Florida pressed for the equalizer and were awarded a penalty shot after a pair of Coyotes players pushed the net off its moorings. Weiss' shot trickled through LaBarbera but slid to a stop as it reached the goal line.

"We played hard as we always do down the stretch but we weren?t able to pull tonight out," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said.

Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata both scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes, who improved to 4-6-0 in December. Smith finished with 19 saves.

Jose Theodore made 20 saves for Florida, which had its home points streak snapped at eight games (6-0-2).

On the other hand, one streak was extended as each of the Panthers' last 13 home games have been decided by one goal (6-2-5).

The Coyotes opened the scoring late in the first period on a 5-on-3 power play as Oliver Ekman-Larsson fed Whitney for a one-timer in the left circle with seven seconds remaining.

Vrbata doubled Phoenix's lead off a feed from Keith Yandle at the 9:02 mark of the second period. Brian Campbell put Florida on the board with 2:18 to play in the middle stanza.

Game Notes

Whitney scored his 100th career power-play goal...The Panthers lost in regulation on home ice for the first time since November 13 against Philadelphia.