Arizona Coyotes end 2018 with a 5-1 loss to Vegas Golden Knights


Sarah Hall/ SCC

The Coyotes and Golden Knights stand during the national anthem at Gila River Arena.

Sarah Hall, Reporter

After winning in Anaheim the night before 5-4 in overtime, the Coyotes lost handily to the Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights.

From the start, things did not look good for the Coyotes. Vegas went on the power play early as Alex Galchenyuk high-sticked a player of the Golden Knights.

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper was out of position in the net and Golden Knights forward Pirri was able to poke the puck lose to teammate Paul Statsny who tapped it home. This made it 1-0 Golden Knights 3:35 into the first period, just seconds after the power play expired.

In the second period, Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz scored but it was called back due to being off-side, shortly after they went back on the penalty kill after Josh Archibald high-sticked a player of the Golden Knights. The Coyotes killed the penalty successfully.

The Golden Knights scored on a broken play, Reilly Smith with assists to Brad Hunt and Jonathan Marchessault putting the Golden Knights up 2-0

Coyotes forward Nick Cousins was checked in the jaw, causing a power player. Shortly after the Coyotes were awarded a second power play due to a slash. Just nine seconds into the 5-on-3, Alex Galchenyuk accepted a pass from Oliver Ekman-Larsson putting the score 2-1 Golden Knights at 16:57.

On this goal, Oliver Ekman-Larsson set the all-time points record by a defenseman with 102-205-312 in 615 games, by-passing the tie he had with Keith Yandle of 65-246-311 in 558 games played.

The Coyotes went back on the power play at 19:15 due to Jonathan Marchessault high sticking Ekman-Larsson.

The Coyotes entered the third period with 1:05 left on the power play.

The Golden Knights were able to score two more in less than two minutes from Cody Eakin and Brandon Pirri, 4-1 Golden Knights in the middle of the third period.

While the Coyotes were on the power play the Golden Knights forward, Ryan Carpenter scored on a shorthanded breakaway at 11:44 of the third period putting the score up to 5-1 Golden Knights.

The Coyotes had a chance in the last three minutes with a power play but were unable to score, allowing another shorthanded breakaway, but were able to stop it.

“Embarrassing.” Said Captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson when he was asked about the collapse at the end of the game.

Head Coach Rick Tocchet called the game disheartening and mentioned that the play was casual more than once.

“We had some positive things going the last 3 or 4 games. To just blow it up like this is very disheartening. I’m very disappointed in the players,” said Tocchet after the game. “(If) you lose the right way I understand but we lost the wrong way tonight.”