GLENDALE, Ariz. D.J. Hayden Jersey . -- The Phoenix Coyotes have won three in a row for the first time in 4 1/2 months, and theyve done it just in time for the stretch run to the playoffs. Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette scored first-period goals and the Phoenix Coyotes held on for a 2-1 win 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. The game was no thing of beauty. "They all cant all be masterpieces," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We got up two goals and we won. Well leave it at that." 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. Phoenix has won five of six and seven of nine. "Maybe desperation," Vrbata said when asked what was driving the recent success. "We know where we are in the standings and that we need every point we can get. We lost too many games before, games we should have won. " Smiths play has been central to the recent wins and he was strong again Thursday. "Before they got that goal, he was outstanding," Tippett said, "and then he got some after that." There werent many shots, Tippett said, but several were difficult saves. Robert Luongo had 20 saves for the Panthers. The Coyotes scored their first goal on a power play after Floridas Jimmy Hayes was sent to the penalty box for holding. Oliver Ekman-Larssons shot from directly in front of the net glanced off Martin Hanzals skate and was knocked into the net by Vrbata for his 20th goal of the season. Phoenix killed two penalties the rest of the period, then made it 2-0 when Vermette hit the puck into a virtually empty net off a deflected shot by Mike Stone. Stones shot bounced off Luongos midsection and right to Vermette. Luongo complained that the goal should have been disallowed because Mikkel Boedker had knocked the goalie to the ice, creating an opening for the goal, but the score stood and it was 2-0 after two. "I think they missed it," Florida coach Peter Horachek said. ".. It should have been an interference call. A lot of those things are going to happen and youre going to have to deal with them, everybody else does, but when you look back at it, it makes it 1-1." Luongo said hed have to look at the tape, but added "its tough to do my job when I end up in the corner." Tippett said Boedker was shoved in to the goalie. "Theyre guy pushed," Tippett said. "I thought it was the right call. Boedker wouldnt have been in there if he hadnt got pushed." "If he hadnt been shoved, he wouldnt have been in there," Tippett said. It was Vermettes team-leading 22nd goal. Hanzal and Ekman-Larsson got assists on Vrbatas goal, Stone and Boedker on the second. Gomezs goal, his first in 36 games, came on a wrist shot that fluttered past Smith. The three-game winning streak is Phoenixs longest since it won five in a row from Oct. 26 to Nov. 5. NOTES: Florida ranks last in the NHL in power-play goals and last in penalty kills. ... Entering the night, Smith had a 1.92 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in his previous 14 games. ... Phoenix swept the season series 2-0, winning at Florida 3-1 on March 11. ... Phoenix is home against Boston Saturday night. ... The Panthers were on the second stop of a four-game road trip. They are at Los Angeles on Saturday. Taylor Decker Jersey . With the Pirates in the thick of the race in the NL Central, the timing couldnt be better. Liriano struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season and Pittsburgh beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night. AShawn Robinson Jersey . The Canadian Football Leagues all-time passing leader said he has not made a final decision, but he will discuss his future with Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall on the weekend. http://www.lionsfanspro.com/Black-Theo-Riddick-Lions-Jersey.html?cat=913 . On Sunday, head coach Patrick Roy said the teams leading scorer will skate at Mondays morning practice and the club will make a decision on his status for Game 6 at that point.The Vancouver Canucks returned home on their first winning streak in over a month. The Canucks try to keep heading in the right direction on Friday night when they begin their homestand against the Phoenix Coyotes. Vancouver went 3-1-0 on a four-game road trip, the lone loss of the swing coming in John Tortorellas return to New York on Nov. 30. The Canucks followed up with wins over Carolina and Nashville to improve to 10-5-2 on the road this season. Ryan Kesler notched back-to-back two goal games to close out the trek, scoring twice in the third period of Tuesdays 3-1 victory over the Predators. Brad Richardson also scored and Roberto Luongo made 30 saves. "The second half of the game, we started playing our game," Tortorella said. "Our power play came through again. We won three out of four and thats traction." Vancouver is on its first winning streak since taking four in a row from Oct. 22-28 and will now try to improve on its 5-5-3 record at home. Forward Alex Burrows did not play on Tuesday due to a broken jaw that is expected to keep him out for four weeks, while defenseman Alexander Edler wont play tonight due to a lower-body injury. The Coyotes are looking to right the ship tonight after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Keith Yandle scored 4:47 intoo the game to put Phoenix in front, but Calgary responded to tie the game with 10 seconds left in the first to kick start a string of four straight goals. Darius Slay Jr Jersey. "We played a really good first period, but got unlucky with a goal at the end of the first period that probably gave them some momentum and we couldnt get it back," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said. Backup Thomas Greiss allowed all four goals on 18 shots for the Coyotes, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Four of those have come in regulation and Phoenix fell to 12-2-1 when scoring first this season. The Coyotes have split the first two of a four-game swing that ends in Colorado on Tuesday. The Coyotes have won four of six against the Canucks both overall and in Vancouver. They won the first meeting of the season between the clubs 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 5. Antoine Vermette had the shootout winner in the fifth round and Mike Smith made 31 saves. Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan scored in regulation. Smith is likely to start tonight after getting Wednesday off and is 4-3-0 with a 2.31 goals against average in his career versus the Canucks. Kesler and Dan Hamhuis scored versus the Coyotes in the first meeting, while Luongo made 30 saves and fell to 11-10-2 in his career versus Phoenix with a 2.24 GAA. Cheap NFL JerseysWholesale JerseysWholesale NFL JerseysJerseys From ChinaWholesale NFL JerseysCheap NFL JerseysCheap Jerseys ' ' '