The Arizona Coyotes are back in action for the first time since January 27th. The Coyotes will hopefully be well-rested as they face off against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Coyotes have played the Golden Knights once this season, and they had good luck. Arizona beat Vegas 2-0 late in November in a game that saw Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse score in the third period, and Connor Ingram make 34 saves in a shutout.
It is the type of game we have seen frequently from the Coyotes. The Golden Knights had five power play opportunities, forcing Ingram to make ten saves with the Yotes short-handed. Arizona only put up 18 shots on goal compared to 34 from the Golden Knights, an extremely lopsided matchup. But Ingram kept the Coyotes in the game long enough for the Yotes to score, and they followed that up with an empty netter to seal the deal.
Not too much has changed for the Desert Dogs since that November win. Heading into the All-Start break, the Coyotes were getting badly outplayed and relied on goaltending to bail them out. They do have flashes of solid play, but the lack of consistency has proven to be a real problem.
Tonight is another in that classic series of competitions, Rest vs Rust. The Coyotes are the well-rested team, having not played since January 27th, while the Golden Knights played on Tuesday, beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1.
It was a comeback victory for the Golden Knights, who allowed Connor McDavid and the Golden Knights to score less than five minutes in. McDavid scored short-handed in what could have been a devastating goal that set the pace of the game, but the Golden Knights had tied the game by the end of the period.
Things remained tied until an early third-period goal gave Vegas their first lead of the game. They managed to preserve that lead and added an empty net goal with just 33 seconds remaining.
The Coyotes desperately need a win to stay in the playoff spot, and they may be able to get one if they come ready to play. After beating the Golden Knights last time, it is unlikely they will catch them by surprise. Instead, the Yotes need to play a strong, disciplined game where they stay out of the box and get timely offense when they can.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller – Keller comes into tonight’s matchup fresh off the All-Star game as he looks to add to his 45-point total. He had the game-winning goal in the first match between these two teams and will hopefully be a big part of tonight’s game.
Vegas: Alex Pietrangelo – Pietrangelo had a primary assist on the Golden Knights’ first goal and comes into tonight’s matchup with 23 points in 46 games. This will be game 999 for the defenseman who comes into the matchup riding a two-game point streak.
Arizona: Travis Body (pectoral), Travis Dermott (lower body), Troy Stecher (lower body)
Vegas: Tobias Björnfot (undisclosed), William Carrier (upper body), Pavel Dorofeyev (upper body), Jack Eichel (knee), Ben Hutton (upper body), Robin Lehner (hip), Shea Theodore (upper body)
Tonight’s game will be at Mullett Arena with a 7:00 p.m. start. It will air on Scripps.