GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Radim Vrbata scored his career-high 28th goal 1:15 into overtime, Mike Smith stopped 30 shots, and the Phoenix Coyotes earned a point in their eighth straight game with a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
Mikkel Boedker scored his first goal in 21 games and Smith withstood a flurry of shots in the third period after having a long scoreless streak end.
Vrbata scored his 10th game-winning goal of the season. He waited for goalie Kari Lehtonen to commit before lifting a shot just under the crossbar. Ray Whitney set it up by snatching the puck from defenseman Mark Fistric behind the Stars net.
Michael Ryder scored his 22nd goal, and Lehtonen had 31 saves for Dallas, which played without leading scorer Jamie Benn.
After a mediocre first half of the season, the Coyotes have made another February charge.
Phoenix had a winning streak of at least five games after the All-Star break in each of the past three seasons, including last year, when it earned 16 points in 17 games. This season, the Coyotes opened the second half with a loss to Anaheim, then reeled off a 6-0-1 run to move from 12th in the Western Conference to seventh.
Smith has been a big part of it.
The former Stars backup has been stellar during Phoenix’s run, allowing three goals in five games, including consecutive shutouts against Chicago and Los Angeles.
Smith was sharp early against Dallas, with 13 saves in the first period, and snatched a shot by Ryan Garbutt with his glove in the second.
The Stars thought they had ended Smith’s scoreless streak midway through the second period, when Tomas Vincour punched in a rebound. The goal was waved off, though, because Adam Burish was called for high-sticking on a redirect just before the shot.
Dallas kept up the pressure to set up a 5-of-3 power play late in the period and broke through on the second penalty when Ryder swiped in a rebound past Smith. That one ended Smith’s career-best scoreless streak at 171 minutes, 26 seconds.
The Stars had lost three straight and four of five before beating the Flames in overtime Thursday night. That gave them 65 points, four behind Phoenix and Los Angeles, and in 11th place in the West.
Dallas gave up a lot of good chances early in front of Lehtonen, and Boedker broke through with his eighth goal on a rush. The Stars picked up the pressure in the second period to get Ryder’s goal and were all over the Coyotes in the third, creating one good chance after another.
Smith stopped 10 shots in the period to send the game to overtime.
NOTES: Coyotes D Rostislav Klesla didn’t play after sustaining an upper body injury from a hard check by Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown on Thursday. C Martin Hanzal also sat out the third period after sustaining a lower body injury. … Dallas C Tom Wandell left in the second period after a puck off the stick of Phoenix’s Keith Yandle struck him in the face. He returned for the third. … Rocker Alice Cooper, a Valley resident, was part of the ceremonial puck drop. The first 10,000 fans were given a bobblehead with him wearing a Coyotes jersey.
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