ARIZONA COYOTES

Stepan scores twice, Coyotes defeat Golden Knights

Apr 4, 2019, 10:13 PM

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Cousins, right, celebrates after right wing Conor Garland, left, scored...

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Cousins, right, celebrates after right wing Conor Garland, left, scored against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 4, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS — Derek Stepan scored twice, Darcy Kuemper made 35 saves and the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Thursday night.

Arizona entered the day needing a win to stay in playoff contention, but was officially eliminated from the postseason when Colorado went into overtime with Winnipeg earlier in the night. The Avalanche needed just one point to clinch the final spot in the Western Conference.

It marks the seventh consecutive season the Coyotes will miss the playoffs.

Richard Panik and Conor Garland also scored for the Coyotes. Kuemper has started a career-high 55 contests and has won a career-high 27 games. Since the calendar flipped to 2019, Darcy Kuemper is 22-9-6 with a 2.02 goals against average.

The Coyotes – who have earned points in 16 of their last 22 games (13-6-3) – improved to 3-3-3 all-time against the Knights, and 3-1-1 at T-Mobile Arena.

Mark Stone scored Vegas’ lone goal and Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 stops in his first appearance since March 15. Fleury had been listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Golden Knights opened the scoring when Paul Stastny’s takeaway deflection fed Stone, who beat Kuemper with a backhand for his fifth goal with the Knights and career-high 33rd overall.

The lead wouldn’t last long, though, as Panik gathered a loose puck in the slot and blasted a shot past Fleury while falling down to tie the game at 1 with 2:37 left in the first period.

Stepan’s two second-period goals pushed the Coyotes ahead 3-1.

On the first, Lawson Crouse fed Stepan, who deked around Fleury’s right pad to give Arizona a 2-1 lead. Stepan got his 15th goal of the season when he buried a rebound that would get challenged by Vegas coach Gerard Gallant, who was looking for goaltender interference. The Situation Room confirmed the incidental contact between Crouse and Fleury occurred in the white ice and did not constitute goaltender interference.

NOTES: After announcing they signed free agent defenseman Jimmy Schuldt to a one-year, entry-level contract, the former Hobey Baker Award finalist skated with the Golden Knights during warmups and was then officially scratched for the game. … Vegas fan favorite Ryan Reaves was also a healthy scratch, missing only his second game of the season.

UP NEXT

Arizona: Concludes its season hosting Winnipeg on Saturday.

Vegas: Finishes the regular season Saturday at Los Angeles.

Arizona Coyotes

Goaltender Connor Ingram...

Associated Press

Utah’s NHL team may use placeholder name for 1st season after move from Arizona

The NHL team moving from Arizona to Salt Lake City will be known as Utah, at least initially, until a long-term name is determined.

1 day ago

Tucson Roadrunners...

Alex Weiner

Mullett Arena? Stay in Tucson? Plan for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate Roadrunners remains unclear

The path forward for the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes, remains unclear under owner Alex Meruelo.

3 days ago

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a press conference at Hyatt Regency Phoenix...

Kevin Zimmerman

Gary Bettman, Alex Meruelo blame Tempe voters for Coyotes’ relocation

Gary Bettman and Alex Meruelo are still stuck on a failed Tempe vote on an Arizona Coyotes arena project rather than any missteps.

3 days ago

Gary Bettman and Alex Mereulo speaking with Media in a press conference....

Bailey Leasure

‘We shall return:’ Gary Bettman remains committed to Arizona despite relocation to Utah

Gary Bettman remains supportive of NHL hockey in Arizona and Alex Meruelo despite the hockey team moving to Utah.

3 days ago

Alex Meruelo joins Burns & Gambo to discuss Coyotes move to Utah....

Bailey Leasure

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo says selling Coyotes is something ‘I tried at every cost to avoid’

Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo joined 'Burns and Gambo' as he talked about the news of the sale and relocation of the team to Utah.

3 days ago

Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo joins Burns & Gambo in studio after team is sold to Utah group o...

Damon Allred

Alex Meruelo: ‘I am the only one’ to bring hockey back to Arizona

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo believes in actions, not words so he wants Arizona hockey fans focused on the June 27 land auction.

4 days ago

Stepan scores twice, Coyotes defeat Golden Knights