Golden Knights beat Arizona Coyotes 1-0 on Karlsson’s late goal
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Vegas winger Alex Tuch dumped the puck from near the center line with the clock winding down, prompting shouts of "Ice!" from Arizona’s bench.
Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun figured the play would be whistled dead. Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault never stopped skating.
The hesitation provided just enough time for Marchessault to find William Karlsson for the winning goal to cap a unique week of hockey.
Karlsson scored with 42 seconds left in regulation on a feed from Marchessault, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 16 shots and the Golden Knights closed out a stretch of four straight games against the Coyotes with a 1-0 win on Sunday.
"He (Tuch) tried to hit me with a pass, but it hit something and just kept going," Marchessault said. "It never crossed my mind that it would be icing, so I just kept going. Everyone stopped playing a little bit and I was lucky enough to keep my head up and I saw Will alone."
Due to pandemic scheduling, the Golden Knights became the first teams to play each other in four straight games during the regular season in NHL history. The played a tight-checking game in the finale after combining for 20 goals in the first three games.
Fleury was sharp throughout for his 62nd career shutout and traded big stops with Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper (26 saves) all afternoon.
One play allowed the Golden Knights to win three of four against Arizona instead of a split.
It started with Tuch dumping the puck from near the red line to the boards behind Kuemper. Hearing the calls from the bench, Chychrun took a wide angle around the goal, thinking the play would be stopped for icing.
No whistle came.
Marchessault kept his legs churning, beat Chychrun to the puck and found Karlsson. The Vegas center had a step on Coyotes forward Clayton Keller and beat Kuemper for the winning goal.
"I don’t mind if they wave it off, that’s not the issue. I just wish I heard it," Chychrun said. "I would have been able to just go back and make a play on the puck. I’m hearing a lot of people yelling ‘Ice!’ and I’m assuming it would be, but maybe I shouldn’t."
The Golden Knights won first two games against Arizona in Vegas, including 5-2 last Wednesday. The Coyotes returned the 5-2 favor in the first game in Arizona on Friday.
The finale was much more defensive.
Kuemper, who stopped 29 shots on Friday, made some spectacular saves and got some help in the second period when Reilly Smith hit the post.
Vegas shut down the Coyotes for long stretches and Fleury was sharp in the limited chances he had. He made one of the game’s biggest saves early in the third period, stopping Phil Kessel on a short breakaway, and was helped by the Coyotes hitting the post twice.
Kuemper was just as good through several stretches of sustained pressure by Vegas in the third, but couldn’t stop Karlsson after Marchessault beat Chychrun to the puck behind the goal.
"I saw Marchy didn’t give up the play, we got the bounce with us, he got the puck and I was able to score," Karlsson said.
Vegas opened the season with four straight wins, scoring at least four goals three times to overcome a few defensive breakdowns.
The Golden Knights were superb defensively against the Coyotes on Sunday, shutting down their shooting lanes and getting a stellar performance from Fleury.
"That’s the best 60-minute effort of the year," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "That’s the first time that I felt for the entire game we played to our identity, with foundation and good structure."
The Coyotes learned a hard lesson about playing through the whistle at the end of their third loss in four games.
Arizona thought the dump-in by Tuch came from behind the red line — replays showed it did — and multiple players pulled up instead of skating hard.
That few seconds of hesitation cost them a chance at least sending the game to overtime.
"It’s icing, but you can’t leave it for chance," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "Keller has to come back. The linesman missed the call, but you’ve still got to hustle back. That’s the rule of thumb, especially with 40 seconds left."
Vegas returns home to play St. Louis on Tuesday and Thursday.
Arizona hosts the first of two games against Anaheim on Tuesday.
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