The Vegas Golden Knights beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 in their exhibition game Thursday night. This was the one and only exhibition game for the Golden Knights before they begin roundrobin play for playoff seeding in the West. Vegas has to be happy with the way they played, getting out to an early lead and never looking back.
No goals were scored in the second period as defense took over. In the third, Arizona got on the board with a powerplay goal of their own from Taylor Hall. Christian Dvorak and Oliver Ekman-Larsson got the helpers on Hall’s tally.
Vegas was quick to answer, however, as Alex Tuch ripped home a bad angle shot to make the game 3-1. Nick Cousins got his second assist of the night on that goal, along with Nicolas Roy getting a helper.
The Golden Knight’s fourth goal was an empty netter by Nick Cousins assisted by Nicolas Roy.
As far as goaltending is concerned, Marc-Andre Fleury played the entire game for Vegas. He stopped 22 of 23 shots against. For Arizona, Darcy Kuemper played the first two periods. He stopped 17 of 19 shots against. Antti Raanta played the third period and made six saves on seven shots against.
Overall, the Golden Knights played well in their first game since March. They stifled the Coyotes offense, holding them to just one goal. Marc-Andre Fleury looked sharp in net and appears to be ready to be the starter for a deep playoff run.
Offensively, Vegas put up a four spot on one of the better defensive teams in the league. That is obviously a very good sign for the Golden Knights’ offense. Two of those goals were special teams markers as well, one on the powerplay and one shorthanded. Special teams always play a big role in the postseason, so it’s good to see the Golden Knights using it to their advantage.
Another very encouraging sign for Vegas was their depth scoring. Scoring from the third and fourth lines is crucial for any team looking to go deep into the playoffs. Nick Cousins finished the game with a goal and two assists. Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy also had big nights offensively, putting up two points apiece. If Vegas can get depth scoring like that in the playoffs, to go along with their stacked top-six, they have a chance to make a serious run.
Golden Knights fans have to be happy with how the team looked Thursday. Obviously, it was just an exhibition game, but it was a good start. Vegas now heads into the roundrobin to play the best of the best in the Western Conference. They certainly are Stanley Cup contenders and played like it against Arizona. Hopefully, that continues moving forward.
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