RALEIGH, NC — Karel Vejmelka made 36 saves — part of a family moment for the Arizona Coyotes goalie.
When his father traveled from Europe to see him play in an NHL game for the first time, Vejmelka put on an impressive performance as he helped the Coyotes beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 on Wednesday night to a four-game game – Stop slips.
“It’s a dream,” he said of his father Karel watching him play. “It’s something incredible. It is very special for us, our family.”
Lawson Crouse scored two goals, including an empty net, and Nick Schmaltz and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Coyotes in the eighth stop of a 14-game road trip. Shayne Gostisbehere and Dylan Guenther each had two assists.
Vejmelka has two shutouts in 13 appearances this season.
Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 22 shots for Carolina just hours after announcing a contract extension. He wasn’t supposed to be on the ice, but planned starter Antti Raanta was the reinforcement instead.
Carolina lost her fourth straight game. It was closed for the second time this season.
“We’re definitely in a difficult phase,” said coach Rod Brind’Amour. “If you miss, it’s going to be really tough.”
The Coyotes have their fathers with them for a few games, so the older Vejmelka was present for this arrangement. He’s seen quite a show.
The Coyotes were alert in front of their goalie and blocked 30 shots. Defenseman JJ Moser had seven of the blocks.
“We played with this desperation and it paid off,” said coach Andre Tourigny.
Defenseman Troy Stecher blocked two shots during a Carolina power play in the first half. He was clearly in pain and left the bench for treatment shortly after, but returned to the ice.
“He’s injured, no doubt about it,” said Tourigny. “If you play like that, you end up blocking a lot of shots.”
The Hurricanes’ last three games ended in overtime losses, a first in franchise history.
Carolina had 14 shots on target in the first 20 minutes. Also, winger Andrei Svechnikov missed wide in the Hurricanes’ 5-on-3 power play at open net.
“You’ve got to get away with something,” Brind’Amour said.
The Coyotes scored with their only shot of the first half when Schmaltz defeated Kochetkov after 66 seconds and scored his first goal of the season in his third game.
“We came out one on one,” Crouse said. “It’s hard to believe. … We escaped the first period and learned from it.”
Crouse scored his first goal of the night 1:52 into the third, seconds after a power play expired. Bjugstad scored his fourth goal at 9:14 of the third, giving him three goals in his last two games. Crouse ended it with his team-leading ninth goal with 2:07 to go.
Kochetkov played in the third straight Carolina game. Raanta felt a bit uneasy earlier in the day, although Brind’Amour said he thought he would play until just before the game.
“He just didn’t feel right,” he said.