Coyotes drop late lead, fall in overtime to Vegas Golden Knights
GLENDALE, Ariz. — For the second time in as many games, the Coyotes surrendered a lead in the third period and lost, this time at home to the Vegas Golden Knights.
After leading 1-0 for almost the entire game, the Coyotes gave up an unassisted goal to Nate Schmidt to tie the game at 1-1 with 1:12 to play in regulation.
The Golden Knights scored in overtime, and a young Arizona team finds itself 0-2.
“I think we sat back again,” forward Tobias Rieder said. “They were coming full force in the second period and we just didn’t play well enough.”
Saturday was the home-opener for the Coyotes, a team playing in front of its own fans for the first time since Shane Doan last donned the red sweater. But at the same time, it was the fans’ first in-person look at a long list of new players, including a goaltender that stole the show at times throughout the game.
And while Antti Raanta held the Golden Knights at bay for much of the game — a game that the Coyotes had led through much of the third period since a goal in the game’s opening minutes — Vegas eventually came back to win it.
The Coyotes opened the scoring with a goal from Rieder at 5:52 in the first period. Luke Schenn fired the puck into traffic, and Jordan Martinook fed it to Rieder on the left side of the net. He tucked it in, and it was 1-0 Coyotes.
Tobias Rieder gives the @ArizonaCoyotes a 1-0 lead. https://t.co/Jq1fVEM1FA pic.twitter.com/3wOLlil5wA
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) October 8, 2017
Raanta was solid in net, but particularly stellar during a huge opportunity for Vegas in the second period. Making his first appearance of the season, Raanta stood tall to help kill off a 5-on-3 Vegas power play for 1:13 and the 5-on-4 that followed. Near the end of the PK, the crowd rose to its feet and cheered for the brand new Coyotes netminder.
“I felt really good at the straightaway at the start and kind of felt like you could keep on going the whole night,” Raanta said. “But, came up a little bit short. We’re going to learn from it. There’s one minute and 12 seconds between two points and that (loss).”
The Rauma, Finland native stopped 42 of the 44 shots he faced.
On the other end of the ice was Marc-Andre Fleury, the former Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins goalie whom the Golden Knights plucked away in this year’s expansion draft. Fleury made 28 saves.
In the third period, with the Coyotes still leading 1-0, Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt ended Raanta’s shutout bid with a goal. That tied the game with only 1:12 to go in regulation.
Then, in the ensuing 3-on-3 overtime, the Golden Knights’ David Perron found James Neal, who circled around in front of the Arizona net and fired a shot past Raanta for the game-winner. Both of Vegas’ wins this year have come via a game-winning goal from “the real deal” Neal.
Don’t bet against Vegas.@jneal_18 has 3 goals, and the @GoldenKnights have 2 wins. pic.twitter.com/Jg3i95Okav
— Sporting News Canada (@sportingnewsca) October 8, 2017
–Despite the loss, Raanta was strong in net for much of the evening and stopped 42 of 44 shots faced.
–Arizona held Vegas to 0-for-4 on their power plays, including a lenghty 5-on-3 opportunity for the Golden Knights.
–Saturday was the second game in a row that the Coyotes blew a third-period lead, and Arizona finds itself 0-2 to start the year.
–Arizona was just 39 percent in faceoffs.
Vegas won 18 of 21 face-offs in the first period.
— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) October 8, 2017
–The Coyotes were 0-for-3 on the power play.
–The Golden Knights led shots on goal 44-28.
HE SAID IT
“You guys are going to get tired of me saying it: It’s hard to win. You’ve got to get in there and you have to compete. Sometimes, when you go into corners, you can’t have a six-foot, eight-foot stick. You’ve got to get your body over the puck. Sometimes, I feel like we’re hoping instead of doing.” –Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet
The Coyotes will head to sin city to play the Golden Knights in Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday. It will not only be the Knights’ home opener, but the first home game in team history.
From there, the ‘Yotes come right back home to play the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, followed by a visit from the Boston Bruins next Saturday.