NHL Hockey

3
Final 1 2 3 OT Tot
Vegas 0 2 0 1 3
Arizona 1 0 1 0 2
2
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET0:00 BRT, November 21, 2018
Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona  Attendance: 14,151

What a difference a year makes for Coyotes, Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights at Arizona Coyotes

  1. The Golden Knights fell to the Flames, 7-2, in Calgary on Monday. It was just the fifth time in their short history they've allowed at least seven goals -- four have come in Western Canada (twice in Calgary, once each in Edmonton and Winnipeg).
  2. Jonathan Marchessault has a pair of goals and a pair of assists in his last two games, giving him a team-leading 19 points (10g, 9a) this season. He's on pace for 37 goals this season, which would top his career high of 30 set two years ago with Florida.
  3. The Knights went 4-1-0 against Arizona last season, although the Coyotes were able to get four points in the five games. Vegas scored on 23.5 percent of its power plays, compared to just 6.7 percent for Arizona. The Golden Knights also won 57.1 percent of the faceoffs.
  4. The Coyotes lost to the Bruins, 2-1, at home on Saturday, and are now 2-4-1 in their last seven games following a five-game winning streak. It was their seventh game this season scoring one or zero goals, tied for fourth most in the league.
  5. Brad Richardson scored Arizona's only goal, his sixth of the season. He had just three al of last season despite playing in 76 games. He also finished last season at -24, tied for worst among Coyotes forwards, but is at an even plus-minus this year.
  6. These teams are two of just four in the league who have not allowed a shorthanded goal this season (Dallas and Minnesota are the others). Arizona has 10 shorthanded goals this season, six more than a group of five teams, including Vegas, who have four.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Now that the Vegas Golden Knights are well into their second NHL season, they're finally starting to resemble an expansion team.

The Arizona Coyotes? Much like the Golden Knights, they don't look anything like they did a season ago.

The Golden Knights and Coyotes meet for the first of four times this season on Wednesday at Gila River Arena, and the two desert rivals couldn't be more dissimilar than they were in the 2017-18 season.

Then, in its first NHL season, Vegas won four of five from Arizona, two in overtime.

The Coyotes were 2-14-3 through 19 games a season ago; now they're 9-9-1.

The Golden Knights, a surprise team from start to finish in an inaugural season in which they reached the Stanley Cup Final, were 15-6-1 through 22 games; now they're 9-12-1 -- and have the same number of points (19) as the Coyotes despite playing three more games.

"They're not going to surprise people this season," Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said Tuesday. "Everybody's ready for them. Maybe there's a little bit of the Stanley Cup Final hangover. But they're still a hard-working team and they've got a lot of pieces."

The two franchises illustrate how quickly poor teams can get better, and good teams can quickly fall off, in modern day American pro sports.

The teams' last two games show that, too.

The Golden Knights breezed to a 6-3 win on Sunday at Edmonton, a Oilers loss that helped lead to the firing of coach Todd McLellan and Vegas' second win in three games.

But the next night, they fell behind by seven goals in a 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday.

"It's hard to believe this happen the way we played (Sunday) night, but that's hockey I guess," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "I'm pretty disappointed and I hope they (the players) are disappointed because they didn't show up."

They were.

"There's too many games where that's happened," Vegas forward Reilly Smith said. And teammate Nick Holden said, "It was a lack of effort. ... It looked like we were two steps behind. It can't happen again."

Now, the Golden Knights will play their third game in four nights during a challenging stretch in which they'll play five games in seven days. They'll get only Thursday off after the game against the Coyotes before playing another back-to-back, against Calgary and San Jose.

Arizona beat Nashville 2-1 on Thursday. But after beating the team that owns the NHL's best record, the Coyotes turned around two nights later and wasted long stretches of dominance while losing 2-1 to the Boston Bruins in a game they outshot Boston 18-1 during a span of more than 30 minutes.

"I think there are some individuals who have to play better for us," Tocchet told radio station KQFN. "We're the type of team that can't have four to five guys in each game playing below average. We're the type of team that needs to have everyone play well and contribute."

Despite putting together a five-game winning streak three weeks ago, the Coyotes have lost five of seven. Vegas has lost four of six.

One reason is goal scoring; through Tuesday games, Arizona was second-to-last in scoring with 48 goals (2.53 per game); Vegas was tied for 22nd in the 31-team NHL with 57 goals (2.59 per game).

Marc-Andre Fleury (9-8-1) is expected to be back in goal for Vegas after backup Malcolm Subban gave up seven goals on 32 shots in Calgary.

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper (4-5-1) is expected to make his eighth consecutive start for Arizona, although starter Antti Raanta (lower-body injury) could return for a Friday home game against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Coyotes, currently thin on the blue line, also could welcome back defensemen Alex Goligoski (lower body) and Jakob Chychrun (upper body) as early as Wednesday.

"We're playing a lot of teams in our division (right) now. This is a big game for us," Tocchet said. "It's a proverbial four-point game. More than ever, we want to be a consistent team in division games."

Updated November 20, 2018

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