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Coyotes fall out of 1st place in Pacific Division in loss to Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) shoots against Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta (32) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

LAS VEGAS — Mark Stone scored twice and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 Saturday night to take over sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

It was Stone’s first two-goal game as a member of the Golden Knights and put Vegas alone atop the division for the first time since Oct. 4, when they opened the season by sweeping a home-and-home series against San Jose.

Chandler Stephenson and Paul Stastny also scored for the Golden Knights, who improved to 10-4-2 in their last 16 games. Marc-Andre Fleury, who came in having lost five of his last eight starts while allowing 21 goals in his previous five games, made 27 saves for his 454th career win to move into a tie with Curtis Joseph for sixth all-time.

Michael Grabner scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who are 13-3-1 when scoring a power-play goal this season, but were 0 for 5 with a man advantage.

Antti Raanta made his 15th start of the season for Arizona, but was pulled at the 1:54 mark of the second period after giving up four goals on 16 shots. Adin Hill, recalled on Dec. 20, made 20 saves in his season debut.

Stone got things going on a power play midway through the first period, when he manhandled Arizona defenseman Jason Demers in front of the net to retrieve a feed from Alex Tuch, then flipped the puck past Raanta.

Grabner tied it with 6 1/2 minutes left in the period when Conor Garland did a nice job of drawing Fleury out of the net and to his right, with a pass to a streaking Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Grabner took a pass from Ekman-Larsson and tied the game with an easy one-timer into a wide open net.

Stone answered about 95 seconds later when he buried a pass from Max Pacioretty behind the net, putting Vegas back in front.

The Golden Knights, who were 2 for 3 on the power play, opened the second period with a man advantage and took advantage out of the opening faceoff when Stephenson took a stretch pass from Shea Theodore, skated in unbothered and lasered a wrist shot through Raanta’s five-hole 12 seconds in.

Stastny ended Raanta’s night when he gracefully dragged the puck through the slot with his backhand and slipped the puck into the corner of the net, putting Vegas ahead 4-1 at 1:54 of the middle period.

NOTES: Lawson Crouse played in his 200th career NHL game.

UP NEXT

Coyotes: Host Dallas on Sunday to open a four-game homestand.


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