NHL Game Summary - Phoenix at Florida
(Thursday, March 18th)
Final Score: Phoenix 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Radim Vrbata scored the game-winning goal in the third round of the shootout, as the Phoenix Coyotes rallied from a three- goal deficit and posted a historic 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers.
The Coyotes picked up their 44th victory of the season to set a franchise record for wins in one year. The 1984-85 Winnipeg Jets set the original mark with a 43-27-10 record.
Vrbata also scored in regulation for Phoenix, which has won seven in a row for the first time since December 28, 2006-January 7, 2007. The Coyotes sit in fourth in the West with 93 points -- only three off the franchise mark set by the Jets during that 43-win season.
Martin Hanzal and Lee Stempniak also lit the lamp for Phoenix, which got 21 saves from Ilya Bryzgalov.
"That's what good teams do. They find ways to win and no matter what they keep believing," Stempniak said.
Stephen Weiss and Cory Stillman each had a goal an assist for the Panthers, who have dropped two straight and sit seven points back of the Bruins for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Tomas Vokoun turned aside 43-of-46 shots in defeat.
After a scoreless first round of the shootout, Nathan Horton found the upper left corner of the net with a wrister to put Florida up. Lauri Korpikoski then backhanded the disc past Vokoun to even things up.
Bryzgalov got the third round started with a poke check of Weiss. Vrbata, who tied the contest late in regulation, made his way towards the net and went to his backhand to beat Vokoun.
Down 3-0 in the third, Hanzal got the comeback going with a power-play score at the 3:56 mark as his wrister from the bottom of the right circle beat Vokoun.
Stempniak also beat Vokoun with a wrist shot at the 4:39 mark to cut the gap to 3-2. Vrbata then scored a weird goal with 59.7 ticks remaining to tie the contest when his shot from center ice took multiple bounces before going over the glove of Vokoun, who shook his head in disbelief.
Each team had one shot in overtime.
"We did a lot of good things tonight," Panthers head coach Pete DeBoer said. "Unfortunately they got a few bounces in the third. That's why that team is where their at."
The Panthers got a power-play goal from Weiss with 6.7 seconds remaining in the first period. His slapper from the left circle proved to be too much for Bryzgalov to handle.
David Booth made it 2-0 with a goal at the 1:03 mark of the second after he deflected Bryan McCabe's slapper from the right point. Stillman's backhander at 7:31 extended Florida's margin to three.
This was the lone meeting between Phoenix and Florida this season...Phoenix has amassed an excellent 15-4-0 record since January 26...Horton hadn't played in a game since breaking his left tibia in a January 21 loss to the New York Islanders.
03/19 01:07:32 ET