banner

NHL

more stats

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, March 20th (All times Eastern)

Florida Panthers (26-35-8) at Phoenix Coyotes (33-25-11), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes hope to boost their playoff chances with a third straight victory when they welcome the Florida Panthers for Thursday's clash at Jobing.com Arena.

With 77 points, the Coyotes are occupying the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. Phoenix, however, is just two points ahead of Dallas for the second of the West's two wild card spots and the Stars, who hold a game in hand over the Coyotes, are playing Thursday in Philadelphia.

In addition to winning its last two outings, Phoenix has posted victories in four of five and six of its past eight games. The Coyotes are attempting to get back to the postseason after missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009.

Phoenix last played on Monday when it edged the Los Angeles Kings on the road. Jeff Halpern scored the game-winner with 3:05 left in the third period to propel the Coyotes to the 4-3 decision at Staples Center.

With the game tied 3-3 late in the third, a Phoenix counterattack saw a blocked shot ricochet into the left circle, where Halpern was waiting all alone. With Jonathan Quick scrambling following the change of direction, Halpern threw a shot on net that the LA netminder appeared to stop from his back before making another incredible save on the rebound attempt to keep the game tied.

However, at the next stoppage, video review showed Halpern's shot fully cross the goal line before Quick's stick knocked it back into play.

"We have the headset on the bench so we got a call from our video guy saying the puck was in so we were just hoping for the right call," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said of Halpern's marker.

Mike Smith, who finished with 36 saves, stood tall the rest of the way to help the Coyotes pick up the valuable win. Keith Yandle notched a goal and an assist, while Rob Klinkhammer and Mikkel Boedker each scored once for Phoenix.

It was the third win in four road games for the Coyotes, who will open a two- game homestand tonight. Phoenix is 20-11-3 as the home club this season and also will host Boston on Saturday.

Phoenix has won two straight and four of its last five games against the Panthers, but Florida has earned a split over its past four trips to the desert.

Although the Panthers are 16 points out of a playoff spot in the East, they have won two of their last three tilts and opened a four-game road trip with Tuesday's surprising win at San Jose.

Roberto Luongo was the star for the Panthers in San Jose, making 53 saves as the Florida Panthers took a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Luongo is 3-2-1 with a 2.48 goals against average and .928 save percentage in six games since coming back to the Panthers in a trade with Vancouver before the deadline. The 34-year-old also played with Florida from 2000-06 and Tuesday's performance marked the fifth time he posted 50 or more saves in a Panthers sweater.

Brandon Pirri had a goal and an assist while Scottie Upshall and Quinton Howden also lit the lamp for the Panthers, who entered the game having lost four of five.

Pirri has three goals and four assists in eight games since Florida general manager Dale Tallon picked him up from Chicago for a pair of draft picks at the trade deadline. The 22-year-old forward was a second-round pick by the Blackhawks in 2009.

"I was fortunate enough that Dale believed in me, and I want to prove him right," said Pirri.

Florida, which will complete its road trip with a stops in Los Angeles and Anaheim, is just 13-20-3 as the visiting team this season.

03/20 10:49:09 ET

Other Stories

Hurricanes

Canes fall to Bruins in Ward's return 12
Monahan, Hiller lift Flames over Hurricanes 5-0

Sean Monahan burst onto the scene as a rookie last season with the Calgary Flames, scoring six goals in his first eight games.

Related Stories
  • ACC: North Carolina at Virginia

    Tomorrow at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Tomorrow at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
3rd
EDM 2
CAR 2
 
Final
SFG 2
KAN 3
Final
ORL 92
DAL 117
Final
TOR 83
NYK 80
Final
MEM 98
MIA 104
Final
CHI 112
MIN 113
Final
HOU 96
SAN 87
4th
UTA 96
PHO 101
 
3rd
LAL 53
SAC 51
 
2nd
GSW 50
DEN 41
 
2nd
LAC 36
POR 51
 
Final
CIN 34
SFLA 17
Final
SALABAMA 27
TROY 13
 
3rd
BSU 48
BYU 23
 
2nd
CAL 14
OREG 31
 
Final
NJD 2
DAL 3
Final
WIN 2
TAM 4
3rd
COL 6
VAN 3
 
3rd
EDM 2
CAR 2
 
2nd
ANA 3
CLB 1