Arizona Coyotes Travel to Vegas for Divisional Battle With Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) in action during a regular season game against the Minnesota Wild Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 21: Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) in action during a regular season game against the Minnesota Wild Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The desert dogs play their next divisional game against the Golden Knights in Vegas on Friday night and are gambling that they will come away with a win despite their sloppy play, just like they did against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

There are many things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day, and the Arizona Coyotes can add an ugly victory against the Anaheim Ducks to their expansive list of good fortune. Despite their lackluster display of “head-scratching” hockey at times, nothing succeeds like success, and the Arizona Coyotes’ (15-8-3, 33 points) “effort” against the Anaheim Ducks (11-11-4, 26 points) at Gila River Arena on Wednesday night certainly fits that scenario. Apparently, a win is a win, just don’t look too closely.

Can Wednesday night’s win and the two points we gained cover up the blemishes evident to all during the game? The desert dogs somehow managed to win in spite of themselves during an inconsistent performance throughout. They took care of business in a sloppy and less-than-stellar manner in defeating the Ducks in a shootout 4 to 3. I’m amazed, but thankful.

The Coyotes will need to play much better in Las Vegas than they did in Glendale to leave there with a win on Friday night. Specifically, they will need to string passes together and minimize the icings they committed against the Ducks. They, too, must play solid 5-man defensive hockey and own the “house” throughout the entire game, not just occasionally depending on who feels like “engaging” with an opponent or who happens to be on the ice for the ‘Yotes’ at the time.

Part of imposing your will upon the opposition is engaging in what is commonly referred to as being “physical” or “hard hitting” or “tough to play against.” Planting the notion in the mind of the attacker that you’ll be in his face and violating his space throughout the game (and that he’d better get used to it or have a comfy seat on the bench) is a message that should be delivered early and often.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are an unapologetically physical team and are successful because of it. The Coyotes need to be ready to match their physicality and return the favor. A consistent, physically-intimidating defensive approach by the Arizona Coyotes is long overdue. It’s time to tactfully and diplomatically knock some opponents on their butts. Let’s begin our new style of defending against the Golden Knights, but in this case what happens in Vegas will then come home to Gila River Arena! Let’s go Coyotes!