Knights try to improve power play, extend Coyotes' skid

League: NHL

Posted on: 08 Feb, 2024 at 03:45 AM

Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Winners of seven of their past 10 games, the Vegas Golden Knights look to keep the good times rolling when they visit the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

The Golden Knights returned from their bye week and All-Star break Tuesday with a 3-1 victory against Edmonton, snapping the Oilers' 16-game winning streak, to improve to 7-2-1 since Jan. 11. They've allowed only 10 goals in those wins.

Adin Hill has been stellar since returning from a lower-body injury Jan. 23, winning each of his three starts since, with a 1.67 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in that stretch. His 1.88 goals-against average and .938 save percentage this season are tops in the NHL.

"I feel like I'm just trying to be patient, let the game come to me," he said. "Trying not to do too much."

He was initially injured Nov. 30, playing two periods before leaving as a precaution. He returned Dec. 17 but lasted just over six minutes before aggravating the injury, sidelining him for over a month.

"I think it helps how hard the guys practice here," Hill said. "Every time at practice they're shooting to score. You kind of get that before you get into the game, I think it helps keep you sharp."

The Golden Knights' current stretch hasn't been perfect, however.

The power play has struggled over the past month, going 3-for-25 over the past 10 games, a woeful 12 percent efficiency. As of Wednesday, the Knights had dropped to 19th in the NHL on the power play.

Arizona, meanwhile, returns to action from its time off, looking to climb closer to a playoff spot. The Coyotes went 0-3 on an Eastern Conference road swing leading into the break.

"That was not the way we wanted to go into the break," defenseman Sean Durzi said. "To get zero points on that road trip this time of year sucked. But I think there's some things we can learn from those games, things that are going to have to help us down the road, especially because teams are only going to get better from here on out."

The Coyotes entered Wednesday five points out of the second wild card in the Western Conference, currently held by the St. Louis Blues with three other teams in between. Arizona faces a grueling schedule in February, when it will play 11 games in 22 days.

"At this time of year, you can really ride a wave of emotions, but you just can't do that," forward Alex Kerfoot said. "It's dangerous. You've just got to go one game at a time. Every game from here on out is crucial, so realize that we're still in the mix and that this next stretch of games is going to be really, really big for us.

"We can't look at the standings. We can't focus on the games we've lost. We've just got to look forward and just focus on one game at a time and keep climbing."

After managing just three points, all assists, in an 11-game stretch, rookie Logan Cooley is riding a four-game point streak and has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past nine games.

--Field Level Media