Mired near the bottom of the standings for most of this season, the Wranglers suddenly find themselves sitting atop their division.
After beating Phoenix 3-2 on Tuesday at the Orleans Arena for its season-high seventh straight win, Las Vegas (25-18-4, 54 points) is tied for first place in the Pacific Division with Ontario (25-17-4, 54 points) — but not for long as the teams will face each other tonight in California.
“We were talking between the second and third periods that, ‘Hey, (we can be) playing for first place (tonight),’ ” Wranglers coach Glen Gulutzan said. “That gave us a little bit of juice.”
Tyler Mosienko lifted a wrist shot into the top of the net less than four minutes into the third period to give Las Vegas a 3-1 lead, and it held on for its fifth win in seven days.
“I thought our effort was good,” Gulutzan said. “We’ve been doing a lot of traveling. We didn’t get home until 10:30 (Monday) night.”
The Wranglers, who took an early 2-0 lead, were coming off a convincing four-game road sweep of National Conference-leading Victoria.
“It was certainly good for their confidence,” Gulutzan said.
Las Vegas, which hadn’t won more than two games in a row all season before its current run, netted a goal in each period against Phoenix (20-22-3).
Chris Ferraro scored with 4:38 left in the first to give the Wranglers a 1-0 lead, and Chris Neiszner buried a power-play goal less than a minute into the second to make it 2-0.
Las Vegas goalie Glenn Fisher stopped 28 of 30 shots, giving up goals to John McNabb and Jeremy Swanson.
The game was delayed for close to 20 minutes midway through the second period after Las Vegas right wing Peter Ferraro injured his neck and was taken off the ice on a stretcher.
Ferraro was taken to a hospital as a precaution but was released. The Wranglers’ team doctor said the injury was only a sprain and nothing serious.
• NOTES — Goalie Kevin Lalande was called up to the American Hockey League’s Quad City Flames, who sent goalie Matt Keetley to the Wranglers.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.LAS VEGAS — 3 PHOENIX — 2
KEY: The Wranglers took an early 2-0 lead and held on.
NEXT: Wranglers at Ontario (Calif.), 7 p.m. today