Golden Knights 1, Coyotes 0: Golden Knights sweep series with strong defensive effort in tight game

Marc-Andre Fleury picks up his 484th career win.

The Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes faced off Sunday afternoon following the Knights’ offensive explosion a few nights prior.

There wasn’t an offensive outburst in this one, but a superb defensive performance helped the Knights defeat the Coyotes by a final score of 1-0.

Tomas Nosek scored the lone goal of the game, which came in the third period.

Vegas gave up a franchise-low 14 shots in the game, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all of them, earning his fifth shutout of the season. Significantly, the win is the 484th of his career, moving him into a tie with Ed Belfour on the all-time wins list.

Fleury was excellent when called upon today. He may not have had the goal support, but the Golden Knights played one of their best games of the season defensively, which made it much easier on Fleury, who faced just four shots in the second and third periods.

Though neither team found twine for the majority of the game, Vegas was controlling the flow of play and finished the game with a 54-35 edge in Corsi at 5-on-5.

The Knights also struck iron at least four times.

The Golden Knights had to kill off a penalty less than a minute into the game as Nic Hague went to the sin bin yet again after catching Christian Fischer with a high stick. The Vegas penalty kill has been excellent this season, and it continued to be in this affair.

It was a big test early in the game against a Coyotes team eager to get off to a strong start after Friday night.

The Knights got a power play later in the frame, but they were held off the board by Arizona goaltender Adin Hill.

Hill was much better today compared to Friday night’s game, but so were the Arizona defenders, which was a big reason the Coyotes were able to keep the Golden Knights scoreless through two periods despite Vegas outshooting Arizona 25-10 in that time.

But the Coyotes lost one of their defenders in the first period.

It was one of the key moments in the game as Ryan Reaves delivered a punishing hit on Coyotes blueliner Jordan Gross, who missed the remainder of the game.

It was a highly questionable hit that is sure to be reviewed by the NHL, though no penalty was assessed on the play. However, tensions were brewing throughout the game.

It wasn’t until 10:38 of the third period that either team was able to break through, but Nosek continued his hot streak by beating Hill after being fed a great pass from Jonathan Marchessault.

It was Nosek’s seventh of the year and third in five games. He is now one goal shy of his career high.

The Coyotes ware able to push back in the late stages of the game, which included pulling Hill for the extra attacker with 2:02 remaining in the third period and once again with 1:12 left.

Fleury had to make a few quality stops down the stretch but was able to come away with the win.

It was an intense game until the very end, especially after Mark Stone was upended with just 14 seconds to go. Both teams exchanged words following the final horn, setting things up for quite a battle the next time these teams square off (April 30).

The Golden Knights will make the short flight to Los Angeles to take on the Kings in a two-game series starting tomorrow night.

Keegan Kolesar left the game with an injury and did not return; Pete DeBoer later clarified that Kolesar suffered a hip injury, though his status remains unknown.

Reaves also left the game in the third period due to an injury, according to DeBoer.

Plus, with the trade deadline coming tomorrow at noon and the Department of Player Safety likely putting in a call to Reaves, it will be interesting to see what Vegas’ lineup looks like in tomorrow’s tilt.