Special teams, third-period surge propel Golden Knights to 5-2 home victory against Coyotes
Vegas scored four times in the third period for its first home win since Dec. 9.
The Vegas Golden Knights put an end to their home-ice slide with a 5-2 win against the visiting Arizona Coyotes Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena. It was the team’s second win in its last eight home games.
The Golden Knights scored twice on the power play and added a shorthanded goal in the victory, bringing their home record back to .500 for the season (9-9-0).
Mark Stone scored twice, Daniil Miromanov potted his second career goal, William Carrier hit double digits with his 10th of the year and Michael Amadio was rewarded with his second of the season to cap off a strong performance.
Vegas was dominant in the opening frame, outshooting Arizona 13-4 and maintaining hefty leads in shot attempts (37-9) and chances (16-4). However, Vegas had nothing to show for it, as Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka held them off the board.
As has been the case lately, the Golden Knights were unable to carry that level of play over to the second period. Vegas generated offense, but it consisted primarily of one-and-done chances as the Golden Knights were unable to capitalize on rebound opportunities.
But the Golden Knights’ red-hot power play came through once again, as Miromanov’s point shot deflected off an Arizona stick on its way into the net, opening the scoring 3:27 into the middle frame.
🚨 #Vegasborn has now scored first in 10 of 18 home games this season - tonight's courtesy of Daniil Miromanov!— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) December 22, 2022
ARI 1 | VGK 1, 2nd period pic.twitter.com/bXSzEd662m
Just 78 seconds later, however, the Coyotes evened things up at 1-1 as Logan Thompson failed to seal the post, allowing Juuso Valimaki to stuff one past him.
Just like that 😏 pic.twitter.com/qYWBzPxxAG— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) December 22, 2022
Tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes, the Golden Knights needed a strong effort in the third.
In fact, things opened up quite a bit in the third period, as the two clubs combined for five tallies, four of which came in the span of just under four minutes.
The first came nearly nine minutes in.
After being shut down several times by Vejmelka, including on a breakaway, Stone finally cashed in, scoring his 13th of the season for Vegas’ second power-play goal of the game.
Mark Stone how are ya? 💥 pic.twitter.com/gDbuOedLup— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 22, 2022
Just 54 seconds later, Carrier — skating on the top line with Stone and Chandler Stephenson — extended Vegas’ lead with his 10th of the season, setting a new career high.
🚨🚨🚨 Not to be outdone - Will Carrier follows up with another one! #vegasborn— AT&T SportsNet™ | RM West (@ATTSportsNetRMW) December 22, 2022
ARI 2 | VGK 3, 3rd period pic.twitter.com/Py5xPpdAtM
But Arizona answered less than two minutes later, as Christian Fischer put home a rebound to bring the Coyotes back within one.
We have a one-goal game in Vegas 🐠 pic.twitter.com/Gx865Uu0xS— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 22, 2022
Down one, Arizona found itself on the man-advantage with a chance to tie it, but the Vegas captain had other plans.
Stone scored his second of the game, this time while shorthanded, to regain the two-goal lead less than a minute after Fischer made things interesting. Vejmelka made a fantastic stop on the initial shot, but Stone followed the puck to the front of the net and buried it.
Th @GoldenKnights captain nets his second of the evening ✨ pic.twitter.com/cP9IhCM7hK— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 22, 2022
His two third-period goals came just 3:38 apart.
Amadio added another one for good measure in the final three minutes of regulation to seal the win.
Prior to being replaced by Carrier in the third period, Amadio played well on the top line with Stone and Stephenson; the trio finished the game with a 19-4 edge in shot attempts (5-2 in high-danger chances), a 7-3 lead in scoring chances and a 65.01 percent expected goal share in 12:10.
Stone and Stephenson were the only Golden Knights with multi-point performances; Stone had two goals and an assist, while Stephenson recorded the primary assist on Carrier’s goal and Stone’s shorthanded tally, which proved to be the game-winner.
In the end, Vegas finished the game 2-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill with the team’s sixth shorthanded goal of the year (the second not scored by Reilly Smith).
It was an important win given Vegas’ struggles on home ice. In the previous seven home contests, the Golden Knights scored 11 total goals and never scored more than two; against Arizona, Vegas scored five.
There were still some of the same issues, like one-and-done offense, forcing plays after giving up a goal and a mediocre-at-best middle frame, but Vegas rode its special teams and exploded for four goals in the third period for an important two points. The Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with 47 points, the third-highest total in the NHL.
Thompson finished the game with 21 saves on 23 shots for a .913 save percentage in his 15th win of the season, which is tied for fourth among all netminders.
The Golden Knights are now 1-2-0 on their four-game homestand, which wraps up Friday against St. Louis.