Derek Stepan scored two goals, and Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves to lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night in Las Vegas. Despite the win, the Coyotes (39-34-8, 86 points) were eliminated from the playoff contention when the Colorado Avalanche (38-29-14, 90 points) defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime earlier Thursday night to clinch the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.
It's the seventh straight year that Arizona has missed the playoffs. Richard Panik and Conor Garland also scored for the Coyotes, who won their third straight game at T-Mobile Arena. Lawson Crouse added two assists.
Kuemper, who left Arizona's 3-1 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday after getting hit near his right eye with a stick that got caught in his mask, started his 22nd consecutive game, tying for the second-longest streak in franchise history. Mark Stone scored for Vegas, which was playing one of its final two tuneups before facing the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs next week. The Golden Knights (43-31-7, 93 points) lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Marc-Andre Fleury, making his first start after missing nine games with a lower-body injury, stopped 37 shots. Stone gave Vegas a 1-0 lead late in the first period with his first goal in eight games. He backhanded a pass from Paul Stastny from the bottom of the right circle through Kuemper's pads for his 33rd goal of the season.
The Coyotes tied it just 57 seconds later on Panik's 14th goal of the season and first in 11 games. Panik slapped in a shot from the slot off a pass from Clayton Keller past Fleury's blocker side. Stepan then scored twice in the second period to give Arizona a 3-1 lead. The first came after Crouse intercepted the puck from Shea Theodore behind the goal and then quickly passed it to Stepan, who tucked it inside the right post. The second came on a rebound of a Jason Demers wrist shot that he backhanded past a diving Fleury for his 15th goal of the season.
Garland ended the scoring midway through the third period when he intercepted a Stastny pass on the right side of the net and beat Fleury with a wrist shot for his 13th goal of the season. --Field Level Media
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