Mike Hoffman's power play goal at 8:50 of the third period broke a tie and led the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night in Glendale, Ariz.
The Panthers finished a five-game Western Conference road trip with three wins and stayed within four points of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Frank Vatrano also scored for Florida, with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopping 38 shots for his 23rd win of the season.
It was a tough loss for the postseason-contending Coyotes. Playing their NHL-leading 66th game of the season, they dropped out of the second wild card spot in the West on tiebreakers.
The Panthers spoiled the return of Coyotes All-Star goalie Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 24 shots in his first game since suffering a lower body injury on Dec. 19. Arizona pulled Kuemper with two minutes to play in the third period, but came up empty on two subsequent shots on goal.
The Coyotes outshot the Panthers 38-26 but were held scoreless after the first period.
Brad Richardson scored his second goal in as many games for the Coyotes. He scored off his own rebound at 14:16 of the first period, his sixth goal of the season. He almost had a second goal at 8:56 of the second, hustling for a pass and breaking in on goal for a backhand that was saved by Bobrovsky.
The Panthers solved Kuemper at 11:03 of the second, when Vatrano's hard wrist shot zipped high into net and tied the game at 1.
The Panthers made three passes off a power play face-off to find Hoffman for a wrist shot that Kuemper never touched, taking the lead and holding on. Hoffman also got an assist on Vatrano's goal.
Forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark, acquired in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, made their Panthers debuts.
--Field Level Media