Sports Outside the Beltway

Throwing in the towel- Phoenix beats Florida 4-3

Would a serious NHL playoff contender would blow a 3-goal lead with less than 20 minutes to go in the game. From AP-

With a lot of grit and a little luck, the Phoenix Coyotes earned a record-setting win Thursday night.FL-Phe

Radim Vrbata scored with 59.7 seconds left in the third period to force overtime, then added the winner in the third round of a shootout in the Coyotes’ 4-3 comeback victory over the Florida Panthers.

Martin Hanzal and Lee Stempniak also scored in the third period to help the Coyotes stretch their winning streak to seven games. The Coyotes set a franchise record for wins in a season with 44, besting the previous mark set by the 1984-85 Winnipeg Jets — before overtime ties were broken in shootouts.

“It was just one of those games where we never quit,” Vrbata said. “We came back and it was nice to get that.”

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 21 shots in regulation and overtime for Phoenix.

David Booth and Cory Stillman scored second-period goals for Florida, and Stephen Weiss had a power-play goal in the first. Tomas Vokoun made 43 saves.

Florida’s Nathan Horton and Phoenix’s Lauri Korpikoski also had shootout goals.

A fluke goal keeps the Panthers from fluking their way into a playoff spot. Very appropriate for this franchise. I give up on hoping the Panthers will make the playoffs. All I wish for now, is that the Panthers get their act together. The team has new owners but management hasn’t changed much if at all. So I remain pessimistic about my favorite hockey team.

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