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Golden Knights Frustrated and Embarrassed in Loss to Coyotes

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Zach Whitecloud Vegas Golden Knights Arizona Coyotes (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knights (29-19-4) suffered a frustrating loss Friday night as they were defeated 3-1 by the Arizona Coyotes (14-34-4). The Coyotes played a simple brand of hockey and, with a bit of luck, defeated their Pacific Division rival.

This game marked what will likely be the last game ever for the Vegas Golden Knights at Gila River Arena. The Coyotes will move to play in Arizona States’ multipurpose arena next season. All-time they are 7-4 in the building. 

Zach Whitecloud returned to the lineup after he missed a handful of the Golden Knight’s last games due to having a broken bone in his foot. Both Dylan Coghlan and Jonathan Marchessault missed Friday’s game with the flu. Michael Amadio drew back in as a result.

The Golden Knights simply could not score Friday night. They registered 44 shots on Scott Wedgewood but were only able to fool him once. They frequently missed the net on grade-A chances and Wedgewood was solid on follow-up saves from in tight.

What haunted the Golden Knights was their inability to capitalize on their chances early. They started the game with two powerplays in the opening seven minutes of play but went 0 for 2 against the Coyotes’ 31st-ranked penalty kill. The Golden Knights had eight high-danger chances in the first period but the scoreboard had two zeroes after one.

The Coyotes made the Golden Knights earn their chances and in the second period and they finally broke free for their only goal of the game. William Carrier on another one of his patented drives to the net followed up on his chance and scored. He simply threw the puck to the net with a no-look shot and scored his sixth goal of the season.

But Shayne Ghostisbehere and the Coyotes answered not long after with a strong shift from the Coyotes. Jakob Chychryun and Alex Galchenyuk set up Ghostisbehere for his ninth goal of the season to tie the game at one.

In the third period, the game became a dogfight with the two teams battling for the go-ahead goal. Three and a half minutes into the final frame the Coyotes broke free. Nick Schmaltz scored on a tip-in after a shot from the point from Anton Stralman, who was playing in his 900th career NHL game.

To make matters worse for the Golden Knights, Max Pacioretty was absent to start the third period. His last shift was with 3:53 left in the second period. It appears as if he is injured once more. Nicolas Roy assumed his role on the first line with Evgenii Dadonov and Jack Eichel.

The Golden Knights simply ran out of time and out of luck as they failed to score to force overtime. Schmaltz scored an empty-netter and iced the game for the Coyotes.

This is yet another tough loss for the Golden Knights and with the way the Pacific Division is heading, things are looking grim for the VGK. The Los Angeles Kings won yet again Friday and have now passed the Golden Knights in the standing. They are currently third in the division.

Also, the Colorado Avalanche came back from a 3-0 deficit Friday night and beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. Nathan Mackinnon had 14 shots on goal alone. The Golden Knights play the Avalanche tomorrow at T-Mobile Arena at 7:00 pm.

VHN Player of the Game: William Carrier.

He was the Golden Knight’s best player Friday night. No offense to Carrier, but this is not a good sign.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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