GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Phoenix Coyotes were on their heels after building a two-goal lead, spending most of the second period in their own zone.
After losing a two-goal lead four days earlier, the last thing they wanted was to do it again, particularly this late in the season and against a team they've struggled against.
Instead of folding, the Coyotes fought back, earning a crucial win before they head off on a four-game road trip.
Radim Vrbata scored two goals and the Coyotes bounced back from a shaky second period to beat Montreal 5-2 Thursday night, their first win over the Canadiens since 1998.
"We talked about coming out like we did in the first and I think we did a pretty good job in the third," said Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who had a goal and an assist. "It wasn't great, but we got two points."
With the Canadiens coming off a six-round shootout the night before, the Coyotes want to jump on them early and did just that. Vrbata scored 2:08 in, Lauri Korpikoski had his first goal in 19 games and Ekman-Larsson also scored for his 100th career point to put Phoenix up 3-1.
The Canadiens picked up the pressure and the Coyotes spent most of the second period chasing, getting off one shot while serving a string of penalties. Alex Galchenyuk scored midway through the period on a two-man advantage, cutting the Coyotes' lead to 3-2.
But after blowing a two-goal lead against St. Louis on Sunday, Phoenix stiffened.
Vrbata made it a two-goal lead in the third period and Keith Yandle scored less than 2 minutes later to put it out of reach, giving Phoenix its first winning streak since Jan. 16-18.
Mike Ribeiro and Kyle Chipchura added a pair of assists for the Coyotes, who hadn't beaten Montreal since Dec. 9, 1998, in Arizona (0-9-2).
"These are desperate points for us before we go on the road," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We needed this one badly."
The Canadiens came out flat after beating the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks in the extended shootout the night before, allowing the Coyotes to dictate play.
Montreal dominated the second period, leading to a series of penalties by the Coyotes, but couldn't sustain it in the third when Phoenix picked up the pressure.
Andrei Markov had a goal and an assist, and P.K. Subban had a pair of assists for the Canadiens.