Sports

Smith has 22 saves, Vrbata, Vermette score and Coyotes beat Panthers 2-1 for 3rd straight win

  • Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith looks at the puck after it hit the post during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Smith looks at the puck after it hit the post during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phoenix Coyotes' Radim Vrbata, left, of the Czech Republic, pumps his fist after scoring against Florida Panthers' Roberto Luongo (1) as Panthers' Joey Crabb (10), Quinton Howden (42) and Tom Gilbert stand near the goal as Coyotes' Martin Hanzal (11), of the Czech Republic, stays on the ice after getting a puck to the foot, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Phoenix Coyotes' Radim Vrbata, left, of the Czech Republic, pumps his fist after scoring against Florida Panthers' Roberto Luongo (1) as Panthers' Joey Crabb (10), Quinton Howden (42) and Tom Gilbert stand near the goal as Coyotes' Martin Hanzal (11), of the Czech Republic, stays on the ice after getting a puck to the foot, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Florida Panthers' Brandon Pirri (73) gets ready to pass the puck as Phoenix Coyotes' Lauri Korpikoski (28), of Finland, closes in and Panthers' Brian Campbell (51) watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Florida Panthers' Brandon Pirri (73) gets ready to pass the puck as Phoenix Coyotes' Lauri Korpikoski (28), of Finland, closes in and Panthers' Brian Campbell (51) watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  (The Associated Press)

Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette scored first-period goals and the Phoenix Coyotes held on to win their third in a row, 2-1 over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith had a shutout until Chris Gomez scored with 4:08 to play. Smith had 22 saves.

Phoenix has won five of six and seven of nine.

Vrbata's goal came on a power play.

The victory, coupled with Dallas' loss to Philadelphia, put the Coyotes four points ahead of the Stars for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Robert Luongo had 20 saves for the Panthers.