Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Antoine Vermette's successful attempt in the sixth round of the shootout lifted the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-2 decision over the Vancouver Canucks in a matchup of surging Western Conference teams.
Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan each had regulation goals and Mike Smith came up with 31 saves to help the Coyotes to a fifth consecutive win, the last three of which have come in shootouts. The triumph was also Phoenix's sixth in a row at home, where the club has gone 7-0-1 this season.
Dan Hamhuis and Ryan Kesler both scored for Vancouver, dealt only its second defeat in its last seven outings. Roberto Luongo stopped 30 shots prior to the shootout in the loss.
"They're very disciplined through the neutral zone," Canucks head coach John Tortorella said. "They jam it up pretty well."
Following a scoreless third period and an uneventful overtime, both Vrbata and Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows converted their shootout tries in the second round. The Canucks had an opportunity to prevail after Mike Ribeiro's chance went off the side of the net, but Chris Higgins hit the post after getting Smith out of position.
Kesler's attempt in the fifth round also got iron to keep the game moving, but Vermette snuck the puck under Luongo's right skate in the sixth and Canucks captain Henrik Sedin fanned while skating in on Smith to end the contest.
"It was a game of inches," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said.
Vancouver trailed 1-0 after one period, but put up a pair of goals less than four minutes apart early in the second to forge ahead.
The first came a mere 25 seconds into the session. Following a faceoff win by the Canucks' Mike Santorelli, Hamhuis lofted a long drive that went over the glove hand of Smith and in to knot the contest.
Vancouver then capitalized on a roughing penalty to Vermette, with Sedin waiting patiently from the right side before finding Kesler for a vicious one- timer with 4:15 elapsed in the frame.
Phoenix pulled even in the latter stages of the period, when Doan blasted home a Keith Yandle feed to the left circle 2:21 prior to the second intermission.
Neither team could find the back of the net in the third period, though Higgins had a backhand try strike the post midway through. Luongo came up with 13 saves during the stanza.
The only scoring during a defensively dominated first period came 1:15 after the opening faceoff. Phoenix's Martin Hanzal intercepted a puck that Vancouver defenseman Christopher Tanev sent around the boards, then fired a long wrist shot that Vrbata tipped in for a quick 1-0 lead.