With a pair of rough defensive efforts lingering, both the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes are looking for better goal prevention when the Knights visit the Coyotes on Friday.
Vegas matched their season high by allowing six goals in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. After a scoreless opening period, the Golden Knights allowed four Ducks goals within a 13-minute span in the second frame.
The Golden Knights did continually fight back to keep the game close after falling behind 4-1. Ten Vegas players recorded points, with Mattias Janmark and Max Pacioretty each collecting a goal and an assist.
Coach Peter DeBoer praised his team for being “resilient” but was “just disappointed we put ourselves in that position.”
“If you score four or five goals, you should win. Our attention to detail defensively wasn’t good enough,” DeBoer said.
The Golden Knights’ special teams units delivered much of the offense, scoring two short-handed goals and two power-play goals against Anaheim. With only five extra-attacker goals scored in their first 21 games of the season, Vegas is hoping Wednesday’s performance finally sparks the power play to life.
Vegas has scored 37 short-handed goals since the start of the 2017-18 season, the most of any NHL team in that span.
The Coyotes are last in the Central Division with a 5-16-2 record, with struggles extending to more or less all facets. Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild marked the ninth time this season that Arizona has allowed at least five goals in a game.
Arizona also is near the bottom of the league in goals scored, though the Coyotes did fire 31 shots on net Tuesday, their second-highest total of the season.
“I’m happy about the offense we created. … We got better today in a lot of our game and we have a lot of positives to build on,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “Moral victories are sometimes overrated, but at the same time we know we did some good things.”
Minnesota still held a 37-31 shots advantage, marking the 21st time in 23 games that the Coyotes have been outshot this season.
Both the Golden Knights and the Coyotes are 1-3-0 over their last four games.
Robin Lehner has played every minute of those last four Vegas games, and the goaltender hasn’t looked too sharp in posting an .877 save percentage. Backup Laurent Brossoit would get the nod if Lehner is given some rest.
Vegas forward Mark Stone temporarily left during the third period Wednesday with a shoulder injury, and could be questionable to play against Arizona.
Scott Wedgewood has recently seen the majority of the goaltending duties for the Coyotes, but Karel Vejmelka could be in line for another start given his spectacular recent form. Vejmelka has stopped 83 of 84 shots over his last two games, including a 46-save shutout of the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
Coyotes forward Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist against the Wild. Keller has nine points (three goals, six assists) over his last seven games.
Vegas is 8-2-0 in its last 10 games against Arizona, dating back to the 2019-20 season.
–Field Level Media