For the second time in three games, the Florida Panthers got “goalied,” this time by Karel Vejmelka, dropping the opener of a four-game road trip 3-1 to the rebuidling Arizona Coyotes.
Vejmelka entered the game with a 4.41 goals against average, but ended up stopping 41 of Florida’s 42 shots to backstop the Coyotes to its first-ever victory at Mullett Arena, their new temporary digs in Tempe.
The only Panther to solve the 26-year-old Czech was Colin White. While cruising into the slot, White reached out to deflect Josh Mahura’s shot over Vejmelka’s glove 8:54 into the second period. Sam Bennett picked up the secondary assist for feeding Mahura at the left point.
Perfection pic.twitter.com/9lx6d5inSe— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) November 2, 2022
The Coyotes got two pucks behind Spencer Knight, with both goals coming on the power play, and it was enough to secure two points.
Former Panther Lawson Crouse tied the tilt from the top of the left circle with 6:13 left in the second after taking a pass that Matias Maccelli fanned on. Rookie Dylan Guenther got the second assist on the play. Lucas Carlsson was the Cat in the box, off for hooking Crouse.
Arizona took the lead 8:55 into the third with Radko Gudas stuck in the sin bin for hi-sticking. Nick Ritchie took a short center from Clayton Keller, after Keller received a return pass from J.J. Moser, and snapped a shot off the far post and in.
With the Cats pressing for the late equalizer, Patrik Nemeth was able to get the puck up the boards to Christian Fisher, who sprung Keller for the empty-net clincher with 67 ticks left on the clock.
Just a disappointing way to start the road trip. The Panthers outshot the Coyotes by a 2-1 margin and won 57% of the faceoffs, yet came out of the game with nary a point, failing to build on a effective win over Ottawa on Saturday. Special teams was a huge let down once again. They generated 8 shots on the power play, but after going 0 for 3, they are now just 4 for 44 with the man advantage this season. On the flip side, the penalty kill allowed Arizona to convert twice on its four attempts. The Cats get a day off to think about it before they face the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Kibbles & Bits
- It took them three tries, but the Coyotes finally got their first win at Mullett Arena. Arizona had lost three straight games to Panthers, who were 7-1-1 in their previous nine against the Desert Dogs.
- The Cats amassed a total of 151 shots over their past three games. They only scored nine times (5.8%) and generated one win for all that work.
- The victory was Karel Vejmelka’s fourth with at least 40 saves in his two NHL seasons.
- Spencer Knight took his first loss of the season. Knight finished the game with 19 saves.
- Gustav Forsling registered a game-high seven shots and a team-high four blocks. He played logged 23:05 TOI, second to Brandon Montour’s 28:11.
- The Panthers dropped to 5-4-1 while Coyotes upped their record to 3-5-1. Read more about it at Five For Howling.