The Arizona Coyotes finished their six game homestand in much the same way as it started: a 4-1 loss.
Stephen Gionta netted the game winner 50 seconds into the third period, as the New Jersey Devils rode Cory Schneider's 30 saves to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night at Gila River Arena.
If you were looking for a high scoring first period, you had to watch a different game. The biggest moment of the first period was a scrap 2:45 in between Jordin Tootoo and B.J. Crombeen. Crombeen took exception to a hit behind the net that Tootoo made on Mike Smith. Tootoo would get the extra minor after the fight, but Arizona could not convert on the power play.
The Coyotes would do a much better job attacking the net in this game; they directed 13 shots against Cory Schneider in the first compared to 12 shots against Corey Crawford in their first two periods against Chicago. Unfortunately for them, Schneider's stellar play continued, and nothing managed to get through.
Arizona would continue to exert its will on the Devils despite being shorthanded early on in the 2nd. When New Jersey did attack, the Coyotes did a very good job ensuring that no Devils got easy looks at rebound opportunities. Andrew Campbell and Klas Dahlbeck in particular were instrumental in blocking out in front of Smith.
Much like the Nashville and Chicago games before, the Coyotes' goaltender could only withstand so many shots before giving up a goal. At 18:03 on the power play, Travis Zajac sent a shot over the net that bounced directly to Adam Henrique. Henrique batted it out of the air to give the Devils the 1-0 lead.
With the game more firmly in New Jersey's control, the Devils added a second goal to their lead just 50 seconds into the third period. Stephen Gionta came streaking in on the near side and managed to roof a rebound over a sprawling Smith to make the score 2-0.
Arizona would finally solve Schneider at 6:06 of the third. Mark Arcobello took a shot from the blueline that Doan was able to tip beneath Schneider's extended glove to make the score 2-1. The Coyotes would be within one for only 19 seconds, as Jordin Tootoo took advantage of a 2 on 1 to score after Mike Cammalleri's initial shot was stopped by Smith. The rebound floated to the high slot where Tootoo was able to take advantage, and New Jersey was up 3-1 at 6:25.
New Jersey was not finished scoring. After assisting on the last goal, Cammalleri decided to score one of his own. Another rebound off a point shot got to Cammalleri's stick, and David Moss was unable to close the gap to prevent the rebound shot at 9:25 that made the score 4-1.
With the game firmly out of reach, frustration took over. Michael Stone and Tuomo Ruutu got into a scrum thanks to a couple of heavy hits in front of Smith, and though both teams took a few more shots on net, there was little action down the stretch as the Coyotes ultimately ended their homestand on a whimper.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star: Cory Schneider - His 30 saves kept New Jersey in it early when Arizona brought pressure, and allowed the Devils to take a lead they would never relinquish.
- 2nd Star: Travis Zajac - Zajac took the shot that led to the Gionta power play goal, and had the secondary assist on Tootoo's dagger goal.
- 1st Star: Mike Cammalleri - A goal and an assist on the night, both of which came in the third period. He ensured Arizona had no chance to mount a comeback.
- New Jersey's perspective can be found at In Lou We Trust.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson dressed for warmups and was cleared to play just two days after being boarded by Chicago's Joakim Nordstrom.
- The Coyotes doubled-up shot attempts in the first period, taking 26 attempts compared to New Jersey's 13.
- The New Jersey power play goal came during a 7:17 stretch in the end of the second in which the Devils outshot Arizona 10-1.
- Doan's third period goal was his first since February 9th versus Chicago. He had only one point (an assist) in between that game and this one.
- On this six game homestand, the Coyotes finished 1-4-1. They scored more than one goal in a game once, in their win versus Vancouver.
- Attendance: 12,425
The Coyotes play one on the road next, as they head to Los Angeles to play the Kings on Monday night. Puck drops at 7:30 PM Arizona time.