Arizona Coyotes hand Golden Knights first loss of the season, 5-2

Arizona Coyotes logo

Arizona lost one game at Vegas by blowing a two-goal lead and was blown out in another.

This unique NHL season has some strange quirks to the schedule, so the Coyotes got a quick chance at payback.

They took advantage with one of their best games of the season to knock the Golden Knights from the ranks of the undefeated and earn a chance at a four-game split.

Conor Garland had a goal and an assist, Darcy Kuemper stopped 29 shots and the Coyotes handed the Golden Knights their first loss of the season, 5-2 on Jan. 22.

"For us to come out and win was huge," Garland said. "You don’t want to lose three in a row to the same team."

The Coyotes were sharp after being drubbed two nights earlier in Vegas.

Kuemper made some spectacular saves and Arizona got contributions throughout the lineup after losing the first two games of four straight against the Golden Knights.

Nick Schmaltz scored for the third straight game and had an assist. Christian Dvorak also had a goal and an assist. Derick Brassard scored his first of the season and Jordan Oesterle closed it out with an empty-net goal.

"It was good resiliency," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "That’s a tough team to play."

Vegas’ Shea Theodore scored his third goal in two games and had an assist. Cody Glass scored his first goal and Robin Lehner allowed four goals on 25 shots for the Golden Knights (4-1), who had been off to the best start in the franchise’s four-year history.

"They played a great defensive game and we didn’t execute well," Theodore said. "We can be a lot better defensively, especially in transition, and they took it to us tonight."

Vegas rallied from a two-goal deficit to win the first game against Arizona 4-2 and blew out the Coyotes 5-2 in Wednesday before heading across the desert.

Theodore scored on the Golden Knights’ first shot to start the rout on Wednesday. Dvorak scored on Arizona’s second shot Friday, knocking in a rebound on a power play 3 1/2 in.

Theodore tied it 1:19 into the second period, picking off a turnover in Arizona’s end and beating Kuemper stick side with a wrister.

Brassard, one of six forwards signed by the Coyotes to add some grit, made it 2-1 with a slapshot from the left faceoff midway through the second period.

Schmaltz took a more patient route on his goal, holding the puck until Lehner went down before lifting in a shot from a tough angle.

Garland made it 4-1 less than two minutes into the third period, deking Lehner with a nifty move and slipping it between the goalie’s pads.

Glass scored midway through the third period late in a double-minor high-sticking penalty on Jason Demers.

"It’s tough enough to beat anyone twice in a row, never mind three times in a row, so we knew they were going to be good," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "We had some self-inflicted things tonight."


Arizona defenseman Victor Soderstrom had a solid debut to what the Coyotes hope will be a stellar career.

The No. 11 overall pick in 2019 NHL draft was called up from the taxi squad and did not seem nervous in his first NHL game.

"I liked his patience," Tocchet said. "The moment wasn’t too big for him. It’s a good stepping stone for him."

Arizona assigned defenseman Jordan Gross to the taxi squad to make room for Soderstrom.


Glass’ power-play goal late in the third period was a nice boost for the Golden Knights, who have struggled with the man advantage so far this season.

Vegas entered Friday’s game 1 for 14 on the power play this season and failed on its first three tries against Arizona.

"It was messy until the end there," Glass said. "It’s nice to get one to get the confidence up, but we need to be better."


The Golden Knights and Coyotes close out the four-game stretch Sunday in Arizona.


More AP NHL coverage: