Home sweet home as Golden Knights host Coyotes (Dec 03, 2017)

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas ranks as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. And the Vegas Golden Knights wouldn’t mind spending a little time checking out the sights themselves.

Vegas finished a brutal stretch that saw it play 12 of 16 games on the road on Friday night with a 7-4 loss at Winnipeg. The Golden Knights, who lost at Minnesota 4-2 the night before, seemed to run out of gas in the third period, allowing five goals to the Central Division-leading Jets.

But the schedule is a whole lot more favorable for Vegas in December. The Golden Knights (15-9-1), who host Arizona late Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena, play seven of their next nine games at home where they’ve compiled a glossy 9-2-0 mark.

It will be the first time Vegas has played at home since getting blanked 3-0 by Dallas on Tuesday. The loss snapped a five-game overall win streak and an eight-game home win streak for the Golden Knights, both of which tied the NHL record for a team in its inaugural season.

Vegas blew a 2-1 lead Friday night in Winnipeg, allowing three power-play goals in the process, including two over a 2:15 span that gave the Jets a 4-2 lead. The Golden Knights, who killed only two of five penalties, fell to 21th in the NHL in penalty killing at 77.8 percent.

“They’ve got really skilled guys, move the puck around really well,” Vegas left wing James Neal said. “We knew that going in. … We just need to stay out of the box a little bit more. That was it. Power plays can win you the game, and they thrive on theirs.”

Vegas coach Gerard Gallant summed up the loss a little more bluntly.

“We played good in spurts, and then we fell asleep in spurts and didn’t play hard,” Gallant said.

The Golden Knights and Arizona, which blanked visiting New Jersey 5-0 on Saturday night, will be meeting for the fourth time this season. Vegas has won all three of the previous meetings, including 4-2 in their last matchup Nov. 22 in Glendale, Ariz.

“Any time you get a win it feels good, especially the year we’ve been having, it’s been hard to get them,” said Coyotes left wing Jordan Martinook, who had one of the goals Saturday night. “When you get them, you want to be excited, but then excited for about an hour because we’ve got to regroup and think about Vegas.”

This is the second time the two teams have played at T-Mobile Arena. The first occurred Oct. 10 in the home opener for the Golden Knights. Vegas, which honored victims and first responders of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at a country music festival just blocks away from T-Mobile Center in an emotional pregame ceremony, scored four goals in the first 10:42, including a pair by Neal, and cruised to a 5-2 victory.

The Coyotes (7-18-4) started the season 0-10-1 but have played better lately under first-year coach Rick Tocchet, going 5-3-1 in their last nine games. Arizona is 4-10-3 on the road this season.

Scott Wedgewood had 26 saves to notch the shutout for the Coyotes on Saturday night but starting goalie Antti Raanta, who missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury, could be in net Sunday against the Golden Knights.