Phil Kessel scores in Coyotes’ home loss to Panthers
Dec 10, 2021, 9:56 PM | Updated: 9:57 pm
GLENDALE (AP) — Patric Hornqvist and Sam Bennett scored 10 seconds apart in the first period, and Sam Reinhard scored in his fourth straight game to give the Florida Panthers a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night.
The Panthers scored all three goals in the first period and Sergei Bobrovsky had 22 saves, giving up only a power-play goal. He is 9-2-1 in 12 career appearances against Arizona. Florida has 21 goals in its last five games and has won five of its last six.
Phil Kessel scored on a power play for Arizona, which has lost four in a row and six of seven. The Coyotes pulled Scott Wedgewood, who had 20 saves, with 3:15 remaining.
The Panthers have a point in 22 of 26 games this season and lead the NHL with 40 points, one more than Minnesota. The Panthers’ four losses are the fewest in the league.
Hornqvist scored the first goal of the game on a wrist shot from the right circle that hit the crossbar and bounced in at 9:05 of the first period, and Bennett scored 10 seconds later when he took a pass after the faceoff and beat Wedgewood with a wrister from the slot.
Kessel made it 2-1, getting the Coyotes’ first goal on the power play in 18 chances (since Nov. 16). But Reinhart scored on a power play with 25 seconds left in the first period with a shot through a screen from the slot for a 3-1 lead.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the Coyotes’ future in Arizona is secure and said there is “no issue” with the team while speaking at the NHL Board of Governors meetings Friday.
The city of Glendale has told the Coyotes it will not renew their lease beyond this season. The club recently paid Glendale $1.3 million in back taxes and bills caused by what they called an oversight.
“(Coyotes owner) Alex (Meruelo) is committed,” Bettman said. “Alex has the resources, and the Coyotes aren’t going anywhere. Well, they’re going somewhere else other than Glendale, but they’re not leaving the greater Phoenix area.”
Meruelo is working to secure a new arena in Tempe.
Florida center Aleksander Barkov and left wing Anthony Duclair were late scratches. “They didn’t feel great today,” Florida interim head coach Andrew Brunette said. “We’ll see where they’re at tomorrow and go from there.” Barkov 10 goals and 18 points. Duclair has nine goals and 17 points. … The Coyotes had been 2 of 25 on the power play at home before Kessel’s first-period goal. It was the worst home conversion rate in the league. … Coyotes center Jay Beagle returned after missing six games with a lower body injury. … The NHL record for the shortest span between goals by the same team is two seconds, by Montreal in 2018.
Coyotes: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.