Before tonight’s game, the consensus was that the Arizona Coyotes would need to be near perfect to make it into the playoffs. The Coyotes apparently heard us say that, and their response was shutting out the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0.
The Coyotes tend to play up or down to their competition. It makes watching them very inconsistent and extremely frustrating to watch, but it keeps games interesting. And against the Vegas Golden Knights, the second-best team in the West Division, they started well.
After two flat starts, it was a bit of a shock to see the Coyotes come out as strong as they did. They weren’t dominant, but they were matching the Golden Knights. Adin Hill made some big saves, and the team in front was keeping up with Vegas.
John Hayden gave the Coyotes their first goal midway through the period. The Coyotes had gained the zone, and Robin Lehner made the save off Jason Demer’s shot, but Derick Brassard passed the rebound to Hayden, who fired it home.
In the last two games the Coyotes played, they spotted the Sharks multiple-goal leads. The first period would finish without any other goals. Vegas had some momentum after killing the Coyotes’ first power play of the game, but Arizona kept the 1-0 lead.
Vegas looked to be mounting a comeback in the final minutes of the first, but they weren’t able to carry that into the second. The middle frame was a stalemate, with neither team able to gain much momentum.
Both teams came close, and both goaltenders made some big games to keep the game where it was. After forty minutes, the Coyotes returned to the locker room with a 1-0 lead.
It wasn’t long into the third when they doubled that lead.
Nick Schmaltz did a lot of work leading up to the goal, stealing the puck from William Carrier and making the first shot on goal. Lehner again made the first save, but Michael Bunting picked up the rebound and shot it home.
Thirty-one seconds later, the Golden Knights would get their first and only full power play of the game. The Coyotes killed it and carried that momentum throughout the second.
Arizona played well for the rest of the period, and with 2:55 left, the Golden Knights pulled Lehner. Vegas had the puck in the Coyotes’ zone, but Lawson Crouse picked up a turnover and cleared the puck. Crouse passed it up to Christian Dvorak, who found a wide-open Christian Fischer.
Fischer put home the puck, and that was all she wrote. The Desert Dogs made sure Hill finished with the shutout, and the Coyotes walked away with the win.
The Coyotes are a team that tends to play up or down to their competition. But even when the Coyotes are playing their best, the Golden Knights are a tough matchup, and this may have been one of their best games against them.
No matter what else happens in the final five games, the Coyotes earned this win. And it showed they still have some fight in them.
- Adin Hill got his second career shutout tonight. His last one was November 29th, 2018 when he made 29 saves in a win over the Nashville Predators.
- In addition to Hill, Michael Bunting, Christian Fischer, and Lawson Crouse all spent time with the Tucson Roadrunners and had big games tonight.
- Fischer had one of the first good looks for the Coyotes of the game, and it was great to see him get rewarded with a goal. The third line all around was really solid.
- Adin Hill - 25 saves on 25 shots
- Michael Bunting - 1 goal
- Christian Fischer - 1 goal
The Coyotes play the Golden Knights again tomorrow at 7:00 pm Arizona time.