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game recap

Coyotes eliminated during win against Golden Knights

Stepan scores twice, Kuemper makes 37 saves for Arizona

by Danny Webster / Correspondent

Stepan's second goal of the game

ARI@VGK: Stepan cleans up rebound for second goal

Derek Stepan buries a rebound and gives the Coyotes a 3-1 lead with his second goal of the game

  • 00:47 •

LAS VEGAS -- The Arizona Coyotes were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention during a 4-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday.

The Coyotes (39-34-8) were eliminated when the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime at Pepsi Center.

"We were playing for our playoff lives tonight," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "We played hard. Vegas is getting ready for the playoffs. They were rolling four lines and trying to get the rust off. I was proud of the way the guys played."


[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Golden Knights highlights]


Arizona has not made the playoffs since reaching the Western Conference Final in 2011-12.

Derek Stepan scored twice, and Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves for the Coyotes, who are 3-4-3 in their past 10 games.

"I love the guys," Tocchet said. "They didn't mail it in. They played for [Kuemper]. It's a tough one to swallow but you have to give the Avs credit. They played great down the stretch."

Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves for the Golden Knights (43-31-7) in his first start since March 15. He missed the previous nine games with a lower-body injury.

"Obviously disappointing to lose our last game at home," Fleury said. "I got to face some shots. There were some scoring chances, I made some good saves, but I also allowed some mistakes. Just trying to work my way back."

Video: ARI@VGK: Panik answers quickly for Coyotes

Fleury said he felt 100 percent and is ready for the playoffs.

"I feel sometimes it's timing and speed of the game," Fleury said. "Finding guys around you, also. Sometimes I feel like you focus so much on the puck that you forget to look around you."

The Golden Knights will finish third in the Pacific Division and will play the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference First Round.

Mark Stone scored at 16:26 of the first period to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead.

Richard Panik scored 57 seconds later to tie it 1-1 at 17:23.

Stepan scored twice in the second period. He gave Arizona a 2-1 lead at 8:24 and made it 3-1 at 16:55 with his 15th goal of the season. Vegas coach Gerard Gallant challenged for goaltender interference on Stepan's second goal, but the call was upheld after video review.

"This room's bummed," Stepan said. "You play an 82-game schedule and we're in the thick of things, and obviously came up a little short. When you're officially out, it stings. We had gone through a lot as a group. It's never easy being told that your season is done."

Conor Garland made it 4-1 at 12:09 of the third period.

Video: ARI@VGK: Stepan scores after nifty move on Fleury

They said it

"This year, in my short career, I've never seen something quite like this that our group went through with injuries. This team came to work hard every single day. That's a really positive thing, and that makes a real special group." -- Coyotes forward Derek Stepan

"These are the games you need to sharpen up on. We're in no different situation on Saturday, except for [the Los Angeles Kings are] not going to be desperate. They're going to want to knock you off. We've got to be ready to go and play our game." -- Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland

Need to know

Arizona outscored Vegas 9-3 in two meetings at T-Mobile Arena this season. … Stepan has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in nine games against the Golden Knights. … This was Stepan's third multigoal game of the season. … Coyotes forward Clayton Keller had an assist, his first point in eight games. … Arizona forward Lawson Crouse had two assists, giving him three assists in two games after not scoring in his previous 12 games. … Fleury is one win from 440 in the NHL. … Vegas forward Paul Stastny had an assist in his return to the lineup. He missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury.

What's next

Coyotes: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, CITY, SNW, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)

Golden Knights: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV)

Video: Stepan's two goals propel Coyotes to 4-1 win

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