Coyotes squeak past PanthersMar 21, 2014 - 5:04 AM
Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette scored in the first period for the Coyotes, who have won four straight at home and seven of their last nine games overall. Phoenix now leads Dallas by four points for the final playoff spot.
Roberto Luongo stopped 20 shots for Florida, which had gone 2-0-1 in its previous three games.
The Panthers got a third-period goal from Scott Gomez, whose wrister from the high slot eluded Smith's glove with 4:07 to play, but they couldn't sneak another puck past the Phoenix netminder.
The Coyotes converted on an early power play, their only one of the game.
Martin Hanzal was the net-front presence during the man advantage, but got drilled by Oliver Ekman-Larsson's point shot. Vrbata jumped on the loose puck in the low slot and put it behind Luongo at the 2:56 mark.
Vermette lit the lamp with 1:22 remaining after Luongo stopped Michael Stone's drive from the point. Luongo also denied Vermette's initial rebound bid, but he was knocked down in a collision and the Coyotes forward snapped the puck home.
Luongo was irate, protesting that the goal should have been waved off.
Phoenix has won five of the last six meetings with Florida ... The Panthers were 0-for-3 on the power play.
- FLORIDA: 1
Mar 21 12:28 AM
- Florida Goal - Scott Gomez (2), from Dmitry Kulikov at 15:52.
Panthers 1, Coyotes 2 3rd - 4:08Mar 21 12:21 AM
- FLORIDA: 0
End of 2nd
Mar 20 11:35 PM
- FLORIDA: 0
End of 1st
Mar 20 10:42 PM
- Phoenix Goal - Antoine Vermette (23), from Michael Stone and Mikkel Boedker at 18:38.
Panthers 0, Coyotes 2 1st - 1:22Mar 20 10:39 PM
- Phoenix Power-Play Goal - Radim Vrbata (16), from Martin Hanzal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 2:56.
Panthers 0, Coyotes 1 1st - 17:04Mar 20 10:13 PM
- FLORIDA: 0
1st Period - 20:00
Mar 20 10:07 PM
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