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Panthers edge Coyotes 2-1 in shootout

by Jerry Brown / NHL.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Coyotes ended their last road trip Thursday with a big win triggered by their backup goaltender, Jason LaBarbera. But back home on Saturday, Phoenix had the tables turned and was frustrated and beaten by Florida backup Scott Clemmensen.

The 33-year-old stoned the Coyotes with 40 saves and carried his team to a shootout that Michael Frolik won in the fifth round as the Panthers won for only the second time in the last seven games, stealing a 2-1 win from the Coyotes.

Mike Santorelli and Stephen Weiss also scored in the shootout for Florida and Radim Vrbata and Scottie Upshall answered for Phoenix. But after Clemmensen stopped Phoenix'sLauri Korpikoski to open the fifth round, Frolik beat Phoenix goalieIlya Bryzgalov to give Clemmensen his second win of the season and the Panthers a much-needed boost to end a 2-2-0 road trip.

"We needed a win, but to get it with a total team effort is something we should be proud of and build on," said Clemmensen, who was 1-4-0 but got the start in place of the struggling Tomas Vokoun. "They are a fast team, and I expected to see a lot of shots and some good scoring chances. We weathered the storm early and we were in it the whole way."

The Coyotes were called for two penalties in overtime - a hook on Ray Whitney and a bench minor for too many men -- which allowed a fifth Florida skater back on the ice for 36 seconds of 5-on-3 time. But the Panthers' NHL-worst power play (8.4 percent coming in) couldn't convert, with Bryzgalov stoning on a rebound opportunity at the doorstep was smothered by Bryzgalov.

The Coyotes actually had the best scoring chance of overtime just after their second penalty expired, but Clemmensen stoppedKeith Yandle in a 2-on-1 to force the shootout.

"Taking a hooking penalty in the offensive zone in overtime is just inexcusable," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We did some good things, but at the end of the day we needed those points and we let one get away."

All the regulation scoring was done in the second period, with Frolik giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead andMartin Hanzal answering for Phoenix on the power play. The Coyotes had the best scoring chances in the third period, but Clemmensen stopped Vrbata, Eric Belanger and Upshall to force extra time.

"Their goaltender played great and so did ours," Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski said. "We had our chances, but we have to bear down around the net."

The Coyotes dominated the first period - forcing coach Peter DeBoer to call a timeout midway through -- but Clemmensen stood tall, His teammates pushed back in the second period, dominating the first 10 minutes and finally capitalizing on a Phoenix mistake.

"I didn't like our first period at all. We were soft and they were in control." DeBoer said. "After that, I thought we competed. That's an impressive team, and to have Clem come in a pitch a game like that, it's what we need to get things turned around here."

David Booth picked off Nolan Yonkman's pass behind the Phoenix net and found Frolik in front for a shot that deflected off Bryzgalov and in at 10:21. It was Frolik's fifth goal of the season but his first since Nov. 10, when he had a goal and a pair of assists in a win over Toronto.

The Coyotes answered after Florida's Dennis Wideman was sent off for holding the stick. Hanzal parked in front of the crease and deflected Whitney's shot into the net at 16:04 for his seventh goal of the season.

The injury-riddled Panthers played without wingers Cory Stillman (back spasms) andChris Higgins (infected foot) and defensemanBryan Allen (foot) -- then lost veteran wingerRadek Dvorak when he fell head-first into the boards behind the Phoenix net after a second-period scoring chance. Dvorak was helped off the ice and did not return.

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