Coyotes home win streak snapped by reigning Eastern Conference champion Panthers
Jan 2, 2024, 10:14 PM
(Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)
The Arizona Coyotes four-game home winning streak was snapped by the Florida Panthers in a physical confrontation on Tuesday night.
Sam Reinhart broke a 1-1 tie on a power play goal in the third period for the Panthers and Matthew Tkachuk extended the lead to 3-1 less than a minute later.
The Panthers would add an empty netter to make the final score 4-1.
The Coyotes only goal came on a short handed rush off the stick of Alexander Kerfoot who finished a give-and-go play with Lawson Crouse.
Alex Kerfoot equalizes 🤠 pic.twitter.com/PhuTnXoCQ3
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 3, 2024
Kerfoot’s short-handed opportunity happened after a wild skirmish to end the second period.
Panthers forward Nick Cousins hit Coyotes defenseman Juuso Valimaki was already on a knee on the ice.
That prompted Coyotes forward Jason Zucker top come in from behind Cousins and send him crashing into the boards.
Gustav Forsling of the Panthers then flew in to defend Cousins and a fight ensued between Zucker and Forsling.
— The Cam & Strick Podcast (@CamandStrick) January 3, 2024
When the dust settled, Forsling and Zucker were both assessed misconduct penalties while Zucker got the short end of the stick and was awarded an additional 5-minute major.
The Panthers struck first on a goal by Carter Verhaeghe mid way through the first period and Florida held that lead for more than 30 minutes.
Verhaeghe walked the puck over the blue line and tried to pass it off but found it again after it deflected off Coyotes defenseman Matt Dumba. He finished the play by firing the puck low past Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka.
Vejmelka fought off multiple ferocious Panthers power plays and finished the night with 34 saves.
The Panthers were 1-for-5 on power play opportunities while the Coyotes were 0-for-2.
Arizona was outshot 38-22 despite outshooting the Panthers 15-14 in the first period.
The Coyotes served 40 penalty minutes in the contest while the Panthers served 23.
Zucker, Forsling and Liam O’Brien were all given game misconduct penalties.
It was the first of a five-game home stand for the Coyotes who welcome the New York Islanders to Mullet Arena on Thursday.
Catch the action on ESPN 620 AM with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m.