Despite the fact the Golden Knights failed to get a shot off for more than three minutes to begin the night, Paul Stastny made his first shot count as he put the squad up 1-0 after a nullified power play.
GOAL. Vegas scores just after their power play expired. pic.twitter.com/OxfTohIT9p— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 31, 2018
Marc-Andre Fleury kept the lead intact until Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz evened things up at 11:06 of the middle frame — or so it was believed. The play was ruled offsides after video review and Fleury remained flawless.
Reilly Smith then got up close and personal with netminder Darcy Kuemper and made the difference 2-0 roughly five minutes later. However, a slash from Stastny and an illegal check to the head lead from Alex Tuch put two men in the box. The Coyotes’ first goal from Alex Galchenyuk followed at 16:57.
Cody Eakin added his twelfth goal to answer back about five minutes into the last stanza. Not to be outdone, Brandon Pirri followed suit in a two-point night to make it 4-1.
GOAL. Brandon Pirri scores on the breakaway to make it 4-1. pic.twitter.com/7O4aH4ID5q— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 31, 2018
From there, the mission was to run out the clock over the final ten minutes. Still, Ryan Carpenter added some salt into the Coyotes’ wounds, making it 5-1 off a shorthanded effort.
Pirri, in particular, has more than earned his keep. While getting sent back down to the AHL is a possibility once Max Pacioretty returns from injury, would it be deserved?
The Toronto native was only called up once last season for two games and scored three times. He leads the AHL in points and again scored three goals in two games just after being called up last week.
After having a four-game point streak snapped in Saturday’s win against the Kings, he rebounded with a multi-point showing just 24 hours later.
If fat needs trimming it should be trimmed from elsewhere. Pirri is a safe bet for numbers right now.
Vegas is now tied for both first place in the Pacific Division and Western Conference after matching the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets with 50 points. The victory also marks Vegas’ first three-game winning streak since November, which featured wins against the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. Stastny has also registered five points (three goals) in the last three games.
The Golden Knights will kick off 2019 at home against the Los Angeles Kings at 6 p.m. PT on Tuesday.