In their first game, the Coyotes were dominant through two periods while Vegas looked out of it. Vegas woke up in the third and won the game.
The Coyotes were completely outplayed during the second game. Any signs of life were short-lived.
The third game was very different. The Coyotes weren't dominant, the Golden Knights didn't look off. But the Coyotes were good through 60 minutes and won the game.
Neither team was really dominant to start the game. But in a change of pace, the Golden Knights drew the first penalty and the Coyotes had the first power play.
The Coyotes' power play didn't start great, with the puck being forced back to the Coyotes' end. But they kept at it, gained the zone, and Conor Garland was able to get the puck at the top of the circle.
Garland shot the puck, and while Robin Lehner was able to make the save the rebound went to Christian Dvorak. Dvorak was pretty much all alone low in the other circle and put it home giving him his first of the season and the Coyotes the 1-0 lead.
That was less than three and a half minutes into the first and things were pretty quiet until then. Both teams took penalties but the period ended with the Coyotes having scored the lone goal.
The second period didn't start off great for the Desert Dogs. Not two minutes into the period Shea Theodore forced a turnover and scored his third of the season. The Coyotes have had issues scoring, and just over a minute into the second period the Golden Knights had tied the game.
In the two prior games, the Coyotes fell apart when Vegas scored. This time they did the right thing. They kept up the pressure, and though they weren't rewarded right away, they were playing the right way.
Less than eight minutes into the second the team would get rewarded when Dvorak stole the puck in the Vegas zone. He backhanded the puck to Tyler Pitlick in the neutral zone who passed it up to Derick Brassard. Brassard walked in to just above the face-off dot and ripped it past Lehner to give the Coyotes the lead again.
And the Coyotes still weren't done in the second.
The Coyotes were pushing in the offensive zone, playing the puck behind the net. Schmaltz worked his way to the front of the net, showed great patience waiting for his shot. His patience was rewarded putting the Coyotes up 3-1.
But if the Coyotes learned anything from their first game of the season against the Golden Knights it was not to sleep on them in the third.
And the Coyotes kept up the pressure and were rewarded early into the period when Schmaltz took the puck from the Coyotes' blue line and passed it to Drake Caggiula who took it into the Vegas zone. Caggiula showing amazing control spun around with the puck in the Vegas zone and passed it to Conor Garland. Garland had been having a good game and when he got the puck he backhanded it into the back of the net giving the Yotes the 4-1 lead.
The Coyotes were up and were playing well enough to keep the lead. It didn't even matter when Cody Glass gave the Golden Knights their second goal of the night in the fourth minute of a four-minute power play with just over nine minutes left the Coyotes were hot and looked to finish strong.
And the Coyotes would finish strong. With 59 seconds left Mark Stone was called for hooking on Lawson Crouse.
With less than a minute left after a defensive zone faceoff, Crouse forced a turnover at the Coyotes' blue line. He passed the puck to Jordan Oesterle who was moving through the neutral zone. Oesterle gained the red line and sent the puck into the empty Vegas net, giving the Coyotes the 5-2 win and their first win of the season against the Golden Knights.
- This was Victor Söderström's first NHL game. He had some quite good moves but didn't do anything game-changing. He seemed comfortable playing the NHL game though.
- There was a lineup change with Barrett Hayton playing center for Clayton Keller and Phil Kessel. All three played really well and had some really good chances.
- The Coyotes only took four penalties, but still a lot but down less than the five and seven they took in the previous two games against Vegas.
- If you couldn't tell by the goal and the assist, Nick Schmaltz had a great game. He has been playing with Drake Caggiula and they have good chemistry. I'm not sure yet if Schmaltz is better with Hayton or with Caggiula, but Caggiula looks better with Schmaltz.
- Kuemper looked solid, but the team in front of him was much better.
- With Oliver Ekman-Larsson out with an injury, Jason Demers played 1:44 on the power play. Last season in 50 games he played 8:13 on the power play.
- Nick Schmaltz - Game-winning goal and assist
- Conor Garland - Goal and two assists
- Christian Dvorak - Goal and assist
The Coyotes still have one more game against the Vegas Golden Knights in this series, Sunday, January 24 at 2:00 pm.