Arizona Coyotes defeat Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 on the road
Alex Goligoski checked by Cody Eakin. The Coyotes defenseman had a solid game. (Photo: NHL.com) 

Arizona Coyotes defeat Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 on the road

In an all desert matchup, the Arizona Coyotes came up with a big win against the rivals from Vegas.

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Flávio Fernandes

The Arizona Coyotes handed its desert rival a very tough loss in their own building

Both teams came to the game with very different outcomes and aspirations, as the Arizona Coyotes are fighting to stay in alive in a playoff race in the Western Conference - while the Vegas Golden Knights are fighting too for one of the top spots in the Pacific Division.

With all the adversity of the injuries in place, the Coyotes resisted a strong first period of offense by the Knights who are also struggling at home and had previously lost three games in a row before this game.

Darcy Kuemper's saves kept the game scoreless and in the second period, the powerplay started to get going again when Jordan Oesterle scored and kept a six-game point scoring streak alive to open the scoring.

Shades of Saturday night's win were back again as Alex Galchenyuk produced a beautiful goal to beat All-Star goaltender Marc-André Fleury and extend the lead to two goals. A fun fact was that Galchenyuk scored on his birthday and in front of his Dad as the team had their annual Dad's trip where fathers attend some games to watch their sons play.

Knights come back in the second period

Brandon Pirri didn't give much time for any Coyotes' player or fan to celebrate as he quickly scored a goal to cut the lead in half and saw his teammate Nate Schmidt tie the game near the end of the second period.

The momentum of the game could have completely changed yet two consecutive powerplays were awarded to the Coyotes. The team failed to capitalize but saw a few minutes later Nick Cousins score his first goal in 13 games to regain the lead.

Kuemper who would end up the night with 41 saves had another great performance when his team was completely outshot. He was really helped by his defense particularly by Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson and honorable mention to Kevin Connauton who played his 300th NHL career game.

Josh Archibald in another beautiful move by the "Yotes" scored the fourth goal and just a few minutes later in desperation mode with the empty net by Vegas, Richard Panik took advantage to score the fifth goal to give the game's final numbers and a very important win to his team.

 

"We're still building an identity and all that stuff. I know there's a lot of excuses going around, but I don't really feel our team does that. That's our attitude and that's how we're staying in this thing. A long way to go, and a lot of hockey left, but this is a big win for this team." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet 

"It's just a no-excuse mentality," said Kuemper, who has won his past two starts. "Everyone's working hard, even in games like this where they come out and have the first period they do, you can still see our effort and the way we're defending and competing in the little areas of the ice that make the difference between getting scored on or getting a chance."

Now four points out of a playoff spot the Coyotes come back home to play a very important game against the hottest team in the league lately. They are also in the race with the St. Louis Blues and on Thursday at Gila River Arena it's another must-win game.

The Golden Knights host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. Auston Mathews and its team will also make their way to Arizona on Saturday for another Kachina jersey afternoon game.

Is the solid game in Vegas a show that the Coyotes have in themselves a playoff team? Comment in the section below!

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