Arizona picked up their first regulation win at home this season with a 5-0 win over the New Jersey Devils and this was THE game fans were hoping to see all season. It’s been a grueling season but for one night, the Coyotes had just about everything go their way. The new acquisitions played well (Stepan, Goligoski), the rookies factored in on the scoring (Strome, Fischer) and they received solid goaltending (although it was from a different goalie than they expected). We can quibble over some of the details of the game, but wins have been hard to come by this year and this is the first decisive win they’ve had all season, so let’s enjoy this.
Arizona 1-0 (Demers): Demers got the scoring started 36 seconds into the game after the Coyotes forced a turnover in the offensive zone. It started with some great work from Derek Stepan down low, who forced a turnover by Andy Greene and found Jason Demers pinching in on the right wing. The Arizona defenseman blasted a wrist shot by a screened Keith Kinkaid to give the Coyotes an early lead.
Arizona 2-0 (Stepan): Arizona capitalized on another Devils turnover, as Derek Stepan and Tobias Rieder forced a misplay by John Moore. The New Jersey defenseman had some trouble handling a clear by Jordan Martinook at his own blue line and this created a scramble in front of Keith Kinkaid’s net. The loose puck was eventually cashed in by Stepan for his second point of the night.
Arizona 3-0 (Martinook): Another hard working shift for the Coyotes paid off, as they got a long cycle going and a goal off a good deflection by Jordin Martinook. Him and Zac Rinaldo did a nice job of going to the slot to take away Kinkaid’s vision and drawing two Devils players with them. Both appeared to get a stick on Kevin Connauton’s point shot with Martinook, who made a nice desperation play to get the deflection, getting credit for the goal.
Arizona 4-0 (Goligoski): A simple, good breakout with puck support led to a goal for the Coyotes with Alex Goligoski and Anthony Duclair on the finishing end. The Devils were pressing a bit and Christian Fischer caught one of their defensemen on an aggressive pinch with a quick pass to Duclair in the defensive zone. This led to a mini odd-man rush and Duclair connected with a wide-open Goligoski on a great cross-ice pass to give Arizona the 4-0 lead.
Arizona 5-0 (Strome): Arizona, once again, struck in the transition game with a quick breakout up the ice and taking advantage of some very poor rush defense by the Devils. It started with a quick breakout from Joel Hanley to Clayton Keller, but the big play was at the offensive blue line where Christian Fischer avoided a weak poke-check from the Devils defenseman and dropped the puck to Dylan Strome in the slot. New Jersey’s defense completely backed off at this point, so the rookie had a clear shot and beat Kinkaid through the five-hole.
Which group of youngsters will come out on top?
While the veterans did their part, the rookies also made their mark in this game. All of them recorded a point and factored into three of the Coyotes goals in one way or another. Dylan Strome finally got off the shined with his first NHL goal, Christian Fischer had a two-point night, Clayton Keller had a secondary helper on Strome’s goal and there were even some rookies who factored into goals without getting a point (see Perlini’s screen on Demers goal). Anthony Duclair also made a key play with his assist on Goligoski’s, so it goes beyond the rookies tonight.
Will Wedgewood get the start against his former team?
He did, and he was fantastic in stopping all 27 shots thrown his way. The rest of the team gave him goal support, but Wedgewood had to bail out the Coyotes defense a couple of times, especially in the third period. He definitely had to earn this shutout, despite the final score.
Will the Coyotes be more disciplined?
Arizona managed to keep it clean in the third period, unlike their last meeting with the Devils. However, they did get into some trouble with two penalties in the second period. Wedgewood and the penalty kill managed to bail them out, though.
Players of the Game
Arizona – Derek Stepan
Easy to give it to Wedgewood for the shutout, but Stepan also deserves a shoutout for his play. He got the Coyotes started with a great play on the forecheck to set up the first goal and added a huge insurance goal later in the period. Arizona also won the shot battle at 5v5 12-11 with Stepan on the ice while he was drawing tough assignments from both the Hischier and Zajac lines. He has to carry a huge burden and did well with it tonight.
New Jersey – Will Butcher
Tough night for the Devils all around, but their great rookie defenseman Will Butcher had a very good game at 5v5. Devils outshot the Coyotes 24-10 while he was on the ice and he created most of their looks on the power play.
Third Star: Dylan Strome
Second Star: Derek Stepan
First Star: Scott Wedgewood
- Check out All About The Jersey for the Devils side of this game.
- Arizona’s penalty kill was a perfect 3/3 on the night, carrying over their strong play here from November.
- Attendance: 14,338
The Coyotes will head to Vegas tomorrow night to look for their first win against the Golden Knights. Puck drop is at 6 PM and can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona.