Arizona Coyotes’ Pathetic Effort Results in Embarrassing Loss to Knights

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: The Arizona Coyotes celebrate after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime at Madison Square Garden on October 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: The Arizona Coyotes celebrate after defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime at Madison Square Garden on October 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Coyotes began their post-Christmas schedule with a visit to Las Vegas on Saturday night, and it wasn’t pretty. One team was motivated, fired up and ready to play impressive, winning hockey. The other team was the Arizona Coyotes.

It was with great anticipation that we sat down to watch the Arizona Coyotes’ game against the high-flying Las Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night in Vegas. After all, we hadn’t seen the ‘Yotes play since their defeat in Nashville almost a week ago, and we needed some help to erase that memory with a convincing win in Las Vegas.

We all knew that the Coyotes had a better record on the road than at home thus far this season. It therefore wasn’t unreasonable to expect a hard-fought game between two first-place teams in the Pacific Division, an epic battle between two juggernauts that are expected to make the NHL playoffs, with a low-scoring game where the Coyotes escape with a win. Oops.

Instead, the Arizona Coyotes were outplayed in basically every facet of the game right from the start. Early goals were scored by the Golden Knights. A couple additional goals were scored a bit later, and then the hometown boys took their feet off the gas when it was evident that the Coyotes were just going to collectively lay down in fetal positions, whimper, and submit.

In a “statement” game such as this, a contest that perhaps carried a bucket load of implications for each team, why did the Vegas team “man up” and “step up,” while the non-competitive Coyotes appeared to coast through the “contest” with little effort? Where was the leadership on and off the ice? If the Coyotes can’t muster enough intestinal fortitude, energy and collective will to compete on the road (in Vegas or elsewhere), what lies ahead for the team at home?

I know, we’ve all heard the refrain about Saturday night’s debacle being just one game, but how long are we supposed to cling to that mantra? If the ‘Yotes continue to lose at home, which they definitely will if Saturday night’s performance was indicative of things to come), pressure will mount to win on the road. Where was the competitive spirit in Vegas?

Where was the pride, the “ownership” of their product that professional hockey players are supposed to exhibit in every game last night? Plain and simple, the Vegas Golden Knights were prepared to compete, and the Coyotes were not. The ‘Yotes were bullied into submission and, based upon “only one game,” they don’t deserve to be atop the Pacific Division. The Golden Knights do.

The Arizona Coyotes are a perplexing team. At this point it’s safe to say that the Coyotes fan base doesn’t know what iteration of the team will show up on any given day. Neither do the coaches for that matter, or perhaps even those on their active roster.

Let’s see how the Arizona Coyotes, a professional hockey team in the NHL, responds to getting their butts kicked and handed to them in Las Vegas when they play at home against the Dallas Stars. This should be interesting. Let’s go Coyotes!