NHL: Phoenix 3, Florida 1

March 12, 2014 at 12:23 AM   |   Comments

SUNRISE, Fla. (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Smith stopped 31 pucks as Phoenix claimed a 3-1 victory over Florida in an inter-conference clash.

"As of late we've tightened up more defensively and there's been a lot more shots coming from outside. As a goalie that's all you can ask for," said Smith.

Mike Ribeiro, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Radim Vrbata lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who have taken four of their last five.

Brandon Pirri scored and Roberto Luongo added 23 saves for the Panthers, losers in seven of nine.

"I just got to find a way to make an extra save somewhere," said Luongo.

Keith Yandle's rip from the boards near the right point on a power play eluded Luongo thanks to a Ribeiro tip and gave Phoenix the lead with 2:17 remaining in the first period.

Ekman-Larsson connected at 9:43 of the second on a wrister from the blue line on the left wing, then Vrbata tripled the visitors' advantage just shy of the six-minute mark of the third period by tapping in an Antoine Vermette dish to cap a 2-on-1.

Pirri's first goal as a Panther, a fluttering power-play strike, put the hosts on the board at 8:54, but that was all Smith allowed.

He stopped the remaining 10 Florida shots in the final 20 minutes, as the Coyotes completed their Lightning/Panthers road sweep.

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