If you turned off the game between the Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils after the first period, you missed one heck of a roller-coaster ride. But thankfully, the cart stayed on the rails long enough for the Coyotes to emerge victorious.
Arizona held off the Devils to preserve a 5-4 victory on Saturday night after leading 4-0 early in the second period. The loss was New Jersey’s tenth in a row.
1-0 Arizona - Radim Vrbata opened the scoring for Arizona off of a great pass from Max Domi at the New Jersey doorstep. With Cory Schneider overcorrecting to the pass, Vrbata had a wide open net to tap the puck into. After an offside challenge, the goal would stand. Assists to Domi and Connor Murphy on the goal at 1:27.
2-0 Arizona - Arizona struck again in the early minutes of the first as Tobias Rieder benefitted from a turnover forced by Brendan Perlini. Perlini forced Adam Henrique to lose the puck in his skates, and Jordan Martinook was there to slide the puck over to Rieder, who was all alone in front of Schneider for the goal. Assist to Martinook on the goal at 2:53.
3-0 Arizona - The Coyotes would cap off an action packed first period with a beautiful power play goal courtesy of Jakob Chychrun. Chychrun found a soft spot in the slot among the four New Jersey penalty killers perfectly settled a Tobias Rieder pass to rook over Schneider. Assists to Rieder and Jordan Martinook on the power play goal at 18:25.
4-0 Arizona - The Coyotes extender their lead to four with their second power play goal of the night thanks to Brendan Perlini, who once again demonstrated why his wrist shot is so devestating from the faceoff dots. With little room to spare, Perlini ended Cory Schneider’s night early with his 12th goal of the season. Assists to Anthony DeAngelo and Jakob Chychrun on the power play goal at 3:59.
4-1 Arizona - New Jersey would make the most of a penalty on Mike Smith for playing the puck in the restricted area, as Taylor Hall fed Kyle Palmieri with a beautiful feed to the back-door for an easy goal. Assists to Hall and Joseph Blandisi on the power play goal at 5:47.
4-2 Arizona - The Devils continued to make things interesting by punishing Luke Schenn for a dreadful turnover right in front of Mike Smith. Damon Severson pushed the bobbling puck away from Schenn and to Beau Bennett, who easily beat a sprawling Smith to bring the Devils to within two. Assist to Severson on the goal at 12:09.
4-3 Arizona - Less than 30 seconds into the third period, New Jersey came within one off a Damon Severson point shot that deflected off of Kyle Palmieri and through Mike Smith’s legs. Assists to Severson and Adam Henrique on the goal at :17.
5-3 Arizona - Anthony DeAngelo restored the two goal lead with the kind of patience from the point that Arizona has missed since Keith Yandle’s departure. DeAngelo skated to an open area at the top of the offensive zone and drew the New Jersey defender into a crouching position. Once crouched, DeAngelo inched to his left to put the defender out of position, and lasered his shot through traffic. Assists to Jamie McGinn and Jakob Chychrun on the goal at 13:31.
5-4 Arizona - Remember John Moore? The one-time Arizona Coyote made a big play pinching from his defensive position to keep the Devils within one. Moore pinched in on the near-side after Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood played keep-away on the far-side below the red line. Zacha pushed towards the middle and fed Moore, who kicked the pass up to his stick and backhanded the puck over Smith. Assists to Zacha and Wood on the the goal at 15:02.
- Can the Coyotes create their own goals? - All five of Arizona’s goals tonight came off tenacious forechecking, good spatial awareness, nice passes, or some combination of the three.
- Will the Coyotes take advantage of New Jersey’s depleted lineup? - The Coyotes seemed to have a hard enough time handling this New Jersey lineup even without the likes of Mike Cammalleri and Travis Zajac. John Moore and Damon Severson were consistently good for New Jersey on the back end.
- Will Taylor Hall wreck havoc? - Hall could have done more damage by scoring on that late third-period penalty shot, but he was ultimately confined to just one (albeit very pretty) primary assist tonight.
Players of the Game
New Jersey - Kyle Palmieri - How Palmieri went to the Devils for only a second and third rounder is a mystery. He scored two more goals tonight to bring his season total to 22.
Arizona - Tobias Rieder - You could give this award to several Coyotes tonight, but Rieder demonstrated his tenacity and his ability to outpace his competition on both his and Chychrun’s goals in the first period.
- For more on the New Jersey Devils, check out All About the Jersey
- Both Kevin Connauton and Alexander Burmistrov remained unavailable tonight with injuries suffered on the road last week.
- Tonight was the first time the Coyotes have ever scored four goals against Cory Schneider. He stopped six of ten shots in 24:13 played, while backup Keith Kinkaid stopped 20 of 21 in 35:02.
- Four players had multi-point nights for the Coyotes. All four of them are 24 or younger.
- Taylor Hall received a penalty shot late in the third period after Luke Schenn hooked him on a breakaway attempt. Mike Smith denied Hall a tying goal.
- New Jersey has not won since February 18th against the New York Islanders, and have not collected a point in the month of March (0-5-0).
It’s a Battle in the Basement next as the Colorado Avalanche come to Glendale on Monday night. Puck drop is at 7 PM Arizona time.