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Coyotes Always Seem To Keep It Close

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Since their first season, the Golden Knights have now faced the Arizona Coyotes 13 times. Although Vegas’ record is 9-4-0 in those games, it doesn’t truly tell the story, a lot like last night’s game.

The Coyotes will remind us that in their history against the Golden Knights they’ve taken points off the Golden Knights in eight of the 13 games.

We’ve played this team before and we’ve had some success. I don’t want to go in there and be intimidated. We shouldn’t be intimidated if we play the right way. We got to have some swagger going in there knowing that if we play our game we can beat this team. -Rick Tocchet, Coyotes coach

Prior to last night, in the first dozen meetings with the Coyotes, the Golden Knights led the scoring margin by just six goals. However, three were scored in overtime, one in shootout, and one was an empty netter. So, after last night, Vegas has nine wins against Arizona, but an overall lead of just four goals in regulation. 

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Recap: It was the first of four between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes set an early, quick pace to the game. Vegas had trouble keeping Arizona out of their zone for most of the period, leading to several chances on Robin Lehner. The Golden Knights were awarded a power play midway through the period but the Coyotes aggressive penalty kill paid off. Arizona took the first lead of the game on a shorthanded goal by Tyler Pitlick. Vegas failed to convert on a 5-on-3 power play and trailed 1-0 after the opening twenty minutes.

Arizona kept pushing in the middle frame outshooting Vegas 16 to 7. The Coyotes would add another special teams goal on the power play to take a 2-0 edge. Max Pacioretty cut Arizona’s lead in half late in the period with his third goal of the season. The Coyotes held a 2-1 lead after two periods in the books.

As they have all season, the Golden Knights woke up in the third period. Reilly Smith and Chandler Stephenson both scored their first goals of the season to give Vegas their first lead of the game. Arizona made a strong push but Reilly Smith sealed the victory for Vegas with an empty-net goal.

With their 4-2 victory, the Golden Knights remain undefeated and improve their record to (3-0) this season. Vegas and Arizona hook up again Wednesday night. Game is scheduled for 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights offense was really staggered early by the Coyotes but they battled through it to keep applying the pressure and eventually break the dam. Yet again, the 3rd period has been where Vegas has been at its best and they’re now 3-0-0 because of it. And, they can still play A LOT better, which is a great sign. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena

  • Like tonight, the Coyotes always seem to keep the all-time series with the Golden Knights.

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Recap: It was the Golden Knights first game action since March, but you wouldn’t know it by watching the first period. Vegas played vintage Golden Knights hockey scoring two goals on special teams. Reilly Smith scored both goals, one shorthanded and the other on the power play. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all five shots from Arizona holding a 2-0 Vegas lead.

The score didn’t change after two periods of play. Fleury was sharp again, and the Golden Knights penalty kill unit did a strong job of shutting down the Coyotes PP.

Leading 2-0, the Golden Knights continued to control the game. Midway though the third period, Arizona finally snuck one by Fleury on the power play. Alex Tuch put Vegas ahead by two late in the game and Nick Cousins sealed the deal with seconds remaining. Fleury saved 22 of 23 shots and skated off with a 4-1 victory.

The Golden Knights play their first official playoff game on Monday against the Dallas Stars. It will be the first of three Round Robin games Vegas will play. Game time is scheduled for 3 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The Golden Knights looked like the much sharper team in the meaningless game against Arizona. It was excellent to see Reilly Smith puck up his great season where he left off. The Golden Knights weren’t great at 5-on-5, but they did enough getting the late goal from Tuch. All in all, not too bad for the only exhibition game. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place in the NHL Bubble.

  • Get ready for A LOT of Shea Theodore ice-time

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Alex Tuch
* Reilly Smith

Probabilities Of Each Opponent Based On Round-Robin Seed

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The NHL is a league built on parity. Winning the Stanley Cup is as much about matchups (and luck) as it is the skill of any given team. This year, the matchups have a chance to vary wildly as the league is re-seeding teams at the conclusions of the play-in and first rounds.

Unlike the eight teams with set play-in round matchups, the Golden Knights seed throughout the tournament is dependant on their performance in three round-robin games. The round-robin not only determines who the Golden Knights will play in the 1st Round, but it also determines the opponent in the 2nd round as well.

With four games in the play-in round, there are 16 possible outcomes between the eight teams. Using William Hill odds, we ranked them from most likely to least likely to occur. Then, using those rankings, we are able to show the probabilities of which team the Golden Knights would be most likely to face depending on which seed they end up with in the round-robin. (An explanation of how I arrived at these numbers is at the end of the article.)

 #1 Seed#2 Seed#3 Seed#4 Seed
Edmonton (5)59.6%
Nashville (6)33.0%22.3%
Vancouver (7)19.1%28.4%10.5%
Calgary (8)10.4%22.9%16.8%4.1%
Winnipeg (9)8.7%19.3%14.2%3.5%
Minnesota (10)13.8%20.6%7.6%
Arizona (11)26.7%18.1%
Chicago (12)40.4%

As you can see from the chart, there’s a significant advantage to finish atop the round-robin. Finishing first eliminates the possibility of a matchup with Edmonton, Nashville, or Vancouver, while coming in fourth takes away any chance to play Chicago, Arizona, or Minnesota.

Compare that to this chart, how Vegas has played against each of these eight teams.

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Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes Photo Gallery – December 28th, 2019

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Recap: It was a quick turnaround for Vegas as they returned home for a matchup against Arizona. The Golden Knights shook off their rust from the night before and came out strong. Mark Stone opened the game with his 14th goal of the season giving Vegas the 1-0 lead. After the Coyotes tied the game, Stone took it into his own hands and regained the lead for his team.

Chandler Stephenson scored :12 seconds into the 2nd period giving Vegas a quick 3-1 edge. Paul Stastny added another goal to extend the lead 4-1.

The 3rd period played out well for Vegas, only allowing four shots on net. Vegas held onto their three goal lead and won the game 4-1.

Vegas’ record improves to 21-15-6 and now hold sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. They’ll next hit the ice on New Year’s Eve day against the Anaheim Ducks. Game time is scheduled for Noon. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: It took a massive effort from the penalty kill, killing off four minutes early, but after they got that out of the way the Golden Knights took over the game. An impressive effort snuffed out a Coyote team that looked up to the task. Vegas got solid contributions up and down the lineup and Fleury returned to his normal self. There would have been some consequences had they dropped this game, but instead they are now in sole possession of 1st place in the Pacific Divison. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena

  • Steve Carp’s Sunday column on the man of the decade
  • Photo gallery from the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Marc-Andre Fleury
** Max Pacioretty
* Mark Stone



Recap: It was the Golden Knights annual Friday after Thanksgiving matinee, and this year the Arizona Coyotes were the opponents. Both teams played well defensively shutting down the others offensive rushes. After 20 minutes of play the game remained scoreless.

Alex Tuch would open the scoring on a nice power play deflection. Tuch made it 1-0 with his second goal of the year. Arizona would tie it up late in the 2nd period. The game was tied 1-1 after two frames of hockey.

The 3rd was a stalemate for most of the period. Both teams fought up multiple power plays and the game was forced to go to overtime, and eventually a shootout where Alex Tuch netted the game winner.

Vegas’ record improves to 13-11-4 with their 2-1 shoutout victory against Arizona. The Golden Knights head back on the road for a three game set in the NYC area. Vegas will face off Monday against the NY Rangers. Puck drop is scheduled for 4P. (Recap by Jason)

Analysis: The new defensive system worked incredibly well against a solid team in Arizona. Vegas kept most of the shots to the outside and cleared rebounds as well as they have all year. Offensively they sputtered not generating many 5-on-5 chances but were able to draw five penalties to help control the game.

Overtime was much better with a number of solid chances with the best coming off the stick of Jon Merrill. However they couldn’t crack Darcy Kuemper, who was incredible all night.

The Golden Knights took care of business in shootout as they have done so far this year getting two goals and two saves. (Analysis by Ken)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs Arizona Coyotes at T-Mobile Arena

  • Podcast/Periscope live from the T-Mobile Store on the Vegas Strip after the game

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Nic Hague
** Alex Tuch
* Malcolm Subban



The Golden Knights looked to bounce back in Arizona after losing their first loss off the season on Tuesday.

The Coyotes struck first eight minutes into the 1st period. Arizona would add another with under a minute left. However, Shea Theodore would score with :04 seconds left in the opening period and get his team within one. Plus a poor goalie interference challenge would give the Golden Knights a power play to start the second.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would begin the 2nd period in place of the injured Malcolm Subban. Vegas squandered the power play and Arizona would slip one past Fleury for the 3-1 lead early in the middle frame. The Coyotes would score a fourth with under two minutes to go in the 2nd to stretch the lead 4-1.

The Golden Knights couldn’t get much going to start the 3rd period, as coach Gerard Gallant shuffled the lineup. Unfortunately, Vegas couldn’t generate any offense and would go on to lose their second straight game. Arizona took the first meeting between the two 4-1.

Vegas’ record drops to 2-2-0 and look to snap their skid on Saturday. The Golden Knights return home to face the Calgary Flames. Puck drops at 7 PM. (Recap by Jason)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights at Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena

  • McPhee explains why he must have a player like Ryan Reaves on his roster
  • 5 breakaways in 2 periods. What in the world happened? (Will become a full article if the trend continues)

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Reilly Smith
** Jon Merrill
* Malcolm Subban


The game got off to a slow start with neither team shooting much in the first five minutes of the game. Arizona struck first on a goal by defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin. A fired up Max Pacioretty got Vegas right back in the game on a breakaway snap shot past Coyotes goaltender Adin Hill. Arizona took the lead again but Pacioretty scored his second of the 1st period for a 2-2 tie after 20 minutes of action.
Pacioretty continued to shine as he found Cody Eakin on a nice feed in front of Arizona’s net. Vegas took the early 2nd period lead 3-2.

The game continued to be the Max Pacioretty show, as he scooped a rebound and slipped it past Hill for a preseason hat trick. Vegas took a 4-2 lead after two periods.

The final period featured a beautiful backhand goal from veteran Reilly Smith. As he normally does, Smith created a turnover which he jumped on and scored on a breakaway. Brayden McNabb added an empty netter and the Golden Knights cruised to their first preseason win the 2019-2020 season 6-2. Veterans Pacioretty, Eakin, Smith and McNabb did all the scoring for VGK. Malcolm Subban stopped 26 saves for the win.

The Golden Knights get back on the ice Tuesday in Denver for their second preseason matchup. Game starts at 6. (Recap by Jason)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Arizona Coyotes preseason game at T-Mobile Arena.

  • First NHL camp stories from Max Pacioretty, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Marchessault, and Malcolm Subban
  • The difficulty for veterans playing with rookies in preseason games

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** Max Pacioretty
** Nick Holden
* Dylan Coghlan



It was the 2018-19 season finale for the Golden Knights and it didn’t go well. The Kings padded their stats on reserve lineup for Vegas. Ilya Kovalchuk, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter all scored for LA ending their season on a 5-2 victory against Vegas.

Jimmy Schuldt got his first NHL point in his first NHL game assisting Valentin Zykov’s second goal of the season.

The Golden Knights regular season ends with a (43-31-7) record.

(Recap by Jason)

Upcoming stories from the Vegas Golden Knights vs. Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center.

  • Carp’s Sunday column on the versatility Gallant has to work with for his 4th line
  • A whole heap of stories about the matchup with the Sharks

Ken’s Three VGK Stars
*** No one else
** Cared
* Jimmy Schuldt

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