Arizona Coyotes Stifle VGK Offense But Can’t Score Themselves, Lose 1 to 0

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Arizona Coyotes defense plays well, but the offense was nearly non-existent in 1 to 0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

One day before the NHL trade deadline, the 5th place Arizona Coyotes (19-18-5 43 pts) lost their third straight game, and the 2nd in a row to the second place Vegas Golden Knights (27-11-2 56 pts).

The pride, work ethic, and effort were finally there right from the beginning for the Arizona Coyotes, which was a pleasant but not wholly unexpected surprise. After getting their butts handed to them 7 to 4 on Friday night, the Yotes quickly proved that it wouldn’t happen to them again on Sunday.

The Coyotes were aggressive and physical in the first period, which ended scoreless, and they matched the VGK pretty much play for play. They lost defenseman Jordan Gross, however, on a needless hit to the head by repeat offender Ryan Reaves, who was not penalized on the play. Gross left the game and didn’t return.

It was more of the same in the second period, with both teams skating up and down the ice but being unable to solve either Marc-Andre Fleury or Adin Hill. Of course when you only take a handful of shots like the Yotes did, the result isn’t surprising. The Coyotes stayed the course and most often played as 5-man units in their “D” zone to help protect goalkeeper Adin Hill, but their offense was nearly invisible as a result. The Coyotes only had 11 shots through two periods, while the Knights had 25.

Well something had to give in the third period, and that “something” was the Desert Dogs. The VGK’s Tomas Nosek rifled a shot past Adin Hill at 10:38 to break the scoreless tie. It was obvious that the Yotes HAD to score from this point on, yet they could only muster 14 total shots for the entire game.

It was certainly impressive to see the Coyotes’ effort in this contest, but effort doesn’t score you goals or grab you two critical points in a playoff race. Thus, they remain in 5th place with their meager 43 points as they travel to Colorado to play the first place Avalanche on Monday night.

Effort doesn’t score goals or grab you two critical points in a playoff race.

The St. Louis Blues, one point ahead of the Coyotes, play the Minnesota Wild on Monday night, while the San Jose Sharks, only 3 points behind the Yotes in 6th place, play the Anaheim Ducks.

This sort of situation should be quite familiar (but not in a good way) to Coyotes’ fans, as it’s almost an annual event at this time of the season. Unable to successfully gain traction by taking their fate into their own hands thus far, the Desert Dogs must not only score enough goals to win at least half of their remaining games, but also heavily rely on losses by their competitors to have any chance for the playoffs. This afternoon the Coyotes could muster just 14 shots, and they only have 14 games left.

Fourteen shots won’t get the job done and heck, won’t even make a goalkeeper sweat. While the clock ticks, they’ll need to find a way to score goals and win some games, or they’re history.

All in all, the Arizona Coyotes played pretty damn well against a much superior team in the VGK. With only 5 defensemen and a steady goalkeeper, they played a pretty solid road game and should be proud of themselves. But now it’s time for the offense to do their part, and it all starts tomorrow night in Denver at 6:00 AZ time. Let’s go Coyotes!