The Arizona Coyotes are back on the road for a single night as they face off against the Vegas Golden Knights. And considering they lost to one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, the Montréal Canadiens, they will probably have a tough time against one of the best in the Western.
There were some good aspects of the Coyotes’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Canadiens. They controlled the pace for a decent chunk, didn’t take too many penalties, and were perfect on the penalty kill. The didn't get the win, but they at least put up a good fight and forced the game into overtime.
But they need to do all those things and more against the Vegas Golden Knights. The last time these two teams met, the Golden Knights handily beat the Desert Dogs 4-1 in the third game in a four-game losing streak.
Alex Pietrangelo, William Carrier, Mark Stone, and Reilly Smith all scored for the Golden Knights in that game, with Pietrangelo also having two assists in a three-point game.
Last time, the Coyotes could have done a better job testing the Golden Knight’s goaltender Logan Thompson. The Coyotes only managed 26 shots, and Thompson stopped all but Keller’s
The Coyotes do have two big pieces against the Golden Knights this time. Last time, the Coyotes were missing Nick Schmaltz and Jakob Chychrun, who have both been excellent since returning from injuries. Both had points last night, with Schmaltz starting the Coyotes’ scoring and Chychrun assisting on Matias Maccelli’s goal. The Coyotes are going to need both of them.
Since beating the Coyotes, the Golden Knights have ascended to the top of the Pacific Division with 45 points in 34 games and a 22-11-1 record. They have dropped their last two, falling to New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres.
Vegas has been dealing with a lot of injuries, but the biggest one right now is probably Jack Eichel. Eichel is still third on the team in goals and second in points despite not playing since December 9th.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had a goal the last time the Golden Knights and Yotes met, and he had an assist in the Coyotes’ previous game. He comes into tonight’s game with 30 points in 30 games.
Vegas: Reilly Smith - Smith had a goal in the Golden Knights’ last game, his 17th of the season. He is the Golden Knights’ leading goal scorer, and he had a goal the last time these two teams met.
Arizona: Liam O’Brien (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)
Vegas: Paul Cotter (questionable, upper body), Shea Theodore (leg), Zach Whitecloud (lower body), Jack Eichel (lower body), Brett Howden (lower body), Shea Weber (ankle), Robin Lehner (hip), Nolan Patrick (upper body)
Tonight’s game will be at 8:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona and ESPN 620AM.