Karel Vejmelka made 41 saves and Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist as the Arizona Coyotes earned their first win in three tries at the new Mullett Arena with a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday in Tempe, Arizona.
Nick Ritchie and Lawson Crouse also scored for Arizona, which snapped a two-game losing streak. The Coyotes, who are playing 20 of their first 24 games on the road as a locker room annex is being finished, are expected to play in the 5,000-seat arena on the Arizona State University campus for at least the next three seasons until a new Tempe Arena project is built.
Colin White scored a goal and Spencer Knight stopped 18 of 20 shots for the Panthers, who were playing Game 1 of a four-game Western Conference road trip that continues Thursday in San Jose.
Florida, which compiled a total of 109 shots on goal in its previous two games, including a franchise-record 58 in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, managed just five shots in the first 18 minutes on Tuesday. The Panthers were outshot 8-7 in a tight, scoreless first period.
The Panthers picked it up in the second period, beating the Coyotes 16-3, but both teams got a goal with Florida also hitting the post twice.
White made it 1-0 at 8:24 with a waist-high deflection of a left-point Josh Mahura shot into the slot. It was his third goal of the season.
Florida had a 10-0 shooting lead in the period before Arizona tied Crouse’s power-play goal, a wrist shot from the edge of the left circle under Knight’s left arm for his fourth of the season.
Florida had a chance to regain the lead early in the third period, but Rudolfs Balcers’ rebound shot from the bottom of the left circle deflected off the left post.
Arizona took a 2-1 lead minutes later with another power-play goal, the team’s 11th in nine games. At 8:55, Ritchie scored with a wrist shot from the top of the slot that sailed the side of Knight’s glove for his fourth of the season.
Knight was fired for an extra forward with 2:28 remaining, and Vejmelka fended off a flurry of shots before Keller sealed it with an empty net with 67 seconds left. Keller has three goals this season.