Ray Whitney would score midway through the third period for the Phoenix Coyotes to send the game to overtime, and then teamed up with Mikkel Boedker in the shootout to avenge the teams only loss of the month against the Vancouver Canucks and conclude an 11-0-1 February.
"That was a heck of a month by any team's standards and we had to earn them both home and on the road," Whitney said. "We beat some quality teams."
The Coyotes showed no fear against the Western Conference's best team. The Canucks had captured points in 16 of their last 17 games (12-1-4) coming into the matchup, including a win against the Detroit Red Wings that put an end to their NHL-record 23-game home winning streak.
After the win Tuesday, there is not a doubt that the Coyotes are the leagues hottest team, capturing 23 out of 24 possible points in February.
The 'Yotes became the leagues hottest team riding Mike Smith, the league's hottest goaltender. Smith has won a franchise-best 11 straight games. When you look at the pedigree of goalies the Coyotes have had in the past, such as Sean Burke, Nikolai Khabibulin and Brian Boucher this becomes even more impressive.
The only goal that got past Smith Tuesday would be a shot that was deflected twice on the way to the net, once off Adrian Aucoin and then Chris Summers. Alexander Edler got credit for the power play goal, his eighth of the year. The goal snapped an 0-for-10 power play drought for one of the NHL's best man-advantage units.
Smith would end up stopping 39 shots, including a robbery of Daniel Sedin in overtime, that would keep the sudden-death game alive.
"Obviously, we've done some good things," Smith told reporters after the game. "I think we've improved, and this month has been good for us. We've moved up the standings drastically and we just have to keep pushing, keep going forward."
While Smith continued his stellar play, Cory Schneider was no slouch in net at the other end of the ice. He would stop 34 shots, including multiple point-blank Coyote chances. With a combined 75 shots on net Tuesday, it is safe to say the night belonged to the goaltenders.
Whitney's goal in the shootout was a snipe just under the crossbar, while Boedker would go for a different tactic. The 22-year-old winger would come in with speed and end up give someone in the upper level a souvenir; Schneider's jock strap. While the Vancouver backup played a great game, he was simply toasted by Boedker's quickness.
The Coyotes will go into March as the leagues hottest team, but nothing in the standings is set in stone. They will have to keep up their play to become a playoff lock and then wrestle for playoff position. San Jose sits just two-points behind for the Pacific Division lead, and there are three teams, Colorado, Los Angeles and Dallas, just five behind with 70 points. Every game has big implications from here on out.
The Coyotes will be back on the ice at Jobing.com Thursday against the Calgary Flames.