The Arizona Coyotes have managed to score just one goal in losing their first two games. Now they host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night in Glendale, Ariz., and Vegas is averaging four goals in its first three games and is one of the favorites to win the Pacific Division.
But Arizona coach Rick Tocchet, whose team is coming off a tough 1-0 home loss to the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins on Saturday, believes his team isn't that far away from being 2-0 after losing its season opener 2-1 at Anaheim.
"I'm not panicking," Tocchet told the Arizona Republic. "We're a good hockey club. These guys are working hard and these are winnable hockey games. ... With a little push from some individuals we could be 2-0. We need everybody to push harder."
Boston's only goal came at 18:41 of the first period by Brad Marchand. The Coyotes outplayed the Bruins most of the game but couldn't find a way to get the puck past Jaroslav Halak, who finished with 35 saves.
"We have guys moving to the right places with good looks," Coyotes center Derek Stepan said. "We just have to keep pushing. Like tonight, I think sometimes you get snake-bitten and tonight their goaltender stood tall and we didn't bury (the chances)."
"It's a hard league to win," Tocchet said. "We didn't give Boston much and that's a Stanley Cup finalist. They've been in the playoffs the last bunch of years a lot, but there's no moral victories. It's a hard game. There's another inch for some players, we need another inch from some guys, but for the most part the effort was there."
The game with the Golden Knights is the second of a five-game stretch against 2018-19 playoff teams for Arizona.
"It's really important to have a good start in this league," Arizona defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "It's really hard to chase from behind. It's going to be some big games for us. We have to be better."
Vegas also comes in off a loss to Boston, 4-3 on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights, who opened with 4-1 and 5-1 victories over San Jose, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period for the third straight game before the Bruins scored four consecutive goals over a 10-minute stretch between the end of the first period and early in the second period.
Max Pacioretty's goal with 5:18 remaining brought Vegas to within one but the Golden Knights failed to net a tying goal on Tuukka Rask after pulling Marc-Andre Fleury with 1:43 to go. Three of Boston's goals came following turnovers by the Golden Knights in their own end.
"We didn't manage the puck well," Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. "Three of their four goals came off of our sticks. We had the puck and we didn't clear the puck and made some bad dumps. Like I said, three of the goals were directly our fault. They played a good game and they had good chances, but we didn't manage the puck well and that was the main reason for the loss."
--Field Level Media