With Jonathan Marchessault scratched due to injury, the Golden Knights couldn’t generate much pressure.
The Vegas Golden Knights lost to the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on Friday, ending a 10-game winning streak in the process. The Golden Knights are now 5-2-0 against the Coyotes with one game remaining in the season set.
Jonathan Marchessault, who had yet to miss a game all year before this one, was scratched during warmups on Friday night. Without Marchessault — who is second on the team in shots on goal this season — the Golden Knights struggled to generate offensive pressure. Vegas finished with 25 shots and 2.12 expected goals.
The Coyotes were good about filling the lanes and keeping pressure on individual skaters. They gave up a few breakaway chances throughout the game but when that happened, Coyotes netminder Adin Hill was very good in net.
An Alex Pietrangelo own-zone turnover led to the first goal of the game, as John Hayden of the Coyotes scored after a string of shots. Robin Lehner lost track of the puck and couldn’t recover in time, as the puck beat him while standing up.
Pietrangelo made up for his own-zone error by making multiple good defensive plays throughout the rest of the game, including breaking up a 3-on-1 opportunity.
The Golden Knights would kill off a Coyotes power play later in the period, as Max Pacioretty went to the box. Pacioretty generated two breakaway chances in the first period but was stopped by Hill both times.
Vegas’ shorthanded units allowed just one shot in 2:26. The power play also generated just one shot in 2:26 against the Coyotes’ penalty kill.
Michael Bunting capitalized on a Nick Schmaltz rebound in the third period to give Arizona a two-goal lead. William Carrier was stripped of the puck just outside the defensive zone as Schmaltz took it away and carried it in, although Bunting ran a little interference on Schmaltz’s entry.
Christian Fischer scored on the empty net after a pass from Christian Dvorak, making the score 3-0.
At 5-on-5, the Golden Knights were able to drive quantity — finishing with 57 shot attempts to Arizona’s 45 — but the Coyotes got the best of the quality battle. Vegas was limited to just seven high-danger chances while the Coyotes generated 14, and Vegas’ 1.99 expected goals were met with 2.36 against.
The Golden Knights also coughed the puck up a lot, as the team finished with nine giveaways to six takeaways. While the Coyotes gave up the puck more often — 14 on the game — Vegas’ turnovers led to more dangerous Coyotes chances, including both goals on Lehner. The Coyotes finished with seven takeaways.
Brayden McNabb played game No. 500 in his career on Friday. The Golden Knights’ defensive stalwart finished with 17:22, including a shot attempt, a takeaway and two blocked shots. McNabb was a positive in terms of 5-on-5 play as well, finishing with a 68.29 expected goal share, and was not on ice for either goal against at 5-on-5.
This is the first time in franchise history the Golden Knights have been shut out by the Coyotes. Hill finished with 24 saves, having faced 2.09 expected goals against. He made six saves on six high-danger shots against.
Lehner himself was far from bad in this game. He made 29 saves on 31 shots against, facing 2.76 expected goals. He made 10 saves on 12 high-danger shots. Lehner just received zero (literally) goal support.
Hey — at least Phil Kessel wasn’t able to secure point No. 900 against the Golden Knights in this game.
With a win on Friday, the Colorado Avalanche moved within four points of the Golden Knights for first place in the West Division. The Avalanche have a game in hand on Vegas as well.
The Golden Knights face the Coyotes again on Saturday at 7 p.m. to close out the season series.