Vrbata Leads Coyotes to 3-1 Win Over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Radim Vrbata had a goal and two assists to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mike Ribeiro also scored for the Coyotes. Mike Smith made 31 saves.
Brandon Pirri scored and Roberto Luongo stopped 23 shots for the Panthers.
Phoenix won its second consecutive road game for the first time since Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.
Florida has lost 10 of 13. The Panthers have only six goals in the last four games.
Phoenix opened a 3-0 lead when Vrbata scored at 5:52 of the third. Antoine Vermette fed Vrbata in the right circle and he wristed the puck into an open net. Vrbata has six points in four games.
The Panthers closed to 3-1 on Pirri’s power-play goal at 8:54 of the third. Pirri’s shot from high in the right circle touched several Coyotes players’ sticks and went over Smith’s glove high in the net.
It was Pirri’s first goal with Florida since he was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on March 2.
The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal in the first. Ribeiro fired a one-timer from above the right circle that got past Luongo on the glove side at 17:43. Keith Yandle got the assist and leads the Coyotes with 45 points. He has seven points in his last seven games.
The Coyotes stretched their lead to 2-0 in the second. Ekman-Larsson shot from just inside the blue line on the left side and it went by a screened Luongo at 9:43.
NOTES: Coyotes F Martin Erat left in the first period with an upper-body injury. … Panthers L Sean Bergenheim left in the second period with a lower-body injury. … The Panthers recalled F Joey Crabb and D Mike Mottau from San Antonio of the AHL. … Panthers D Erik Gudbranson and C Jesse Winchester each missed the game with lower-body injuries.
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