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Nick Schmaltz powers Coyotes to 4-3 comeback victory in New Jersey

© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

In dramatic style, the Arizona Coyotes found a way to comeback and beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in a shootout after overcoming multiple penalties throughout the game.

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After the Devils played last night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Coyotes came into town beginning their own regular season.

New Jersey are expected to repeat a season like last year where they had 112 points and were third in the league.

Before the game, Arizona rookie Logan Cooley took his NHL debut laps in warmups which is a NHL tradition.

Both teams brought speed throughout the game and the power-plays were the story.

First Period

Right after the puck dropped, the Coyotes came out flying.

With having 9 shots attempts not even five minutes, Arizona had a few opportunities to score.

Then, one of the free agent signings from the offseason scored his first as a ‘Yote.

After receiving a backhand pass from winger Nick Schmaltz, Coyotes star Clayton Keller skated into the offensive zone.

As he went towards the goal, Keller laid it back to defenseman Matt Dumba who scored over the glove of Devils goaltender Akira Schmid to give Arizona a 1-0 lead 13:38 into the first period.

With that assist, Schmaltz recorded his 300 career point and marked 200 assists in the NHL.

Then, Cooley was very close to getting his first NHL pointed.

With 6:02 remaining in the first frame, Cooley found Coyotes right-winger Jason Zucker open for a one-timer, but was stopped by Schmid.

Trying to look for an answer, New Jersey left-winger Jesper Bratt walked in and fired a wrist-shot that hit the post with 3:04 left.

At the end of the first-20 minutes, Arizona outshot the Devils 14-8 and were up 1-0.

Second Period

In the second period, a total of nine penalties were taken between the two clubs and both power-plays punished each other.

At 4:23 into the second, Cooley would get his first point in the NHL.

4:23 into the second period, Cooley sent a cross-ice pass to Keller before setting up Arizona defenseman Sean Durzi for a one-timer and scored to add a 2-0 cushion.

Less than four minutes later, Devils left-winger Jesper Bratt netted his first goal of the season and the score was 2-1.

After Bratt’s first tally, the Coyotes took five penalties before the second-20-minute frame ended.

With multiple power-play opportunities, the Devils finally capitalized.

Eventually, New Jersey defenseman Dougie Hamilton fired a slap-shot that went into the net before Bratt got his second goal of the game and all of a sudden, the Devils took the lead 3-2 as the second period concluded.

On all three Devils’ goals, star Jack Hughes had an assist for each one.

Third Period

After taking five penalties in the second, the Coyotes became more disciplined and the game became a defensive battle.

Schmid and Arizona goaltender, Karel Vejmelka, both made big saves in the last 20 minutes of regulation.

At 7:16 left in the third, Devils defenseman Brendan Smith tripped Coyotes center Barrett Hayton from behind.

A little over a minute later, Arizona’s power-play would get their second goal of the game.

With already one assist in his debut, Cooley passed the puck to Schmaltz who, from a bad angle, found just enough room under the blocker of Schmid to tie the game up at 3-3.

Cooley would become the fourth rookie in Coyotes franchise history to have a multi-point game in a debut, the last one coming from former winger Michael Bunting who last did it on Mar. 31, 2021.

In the last minute, the Devils had a couple opportunities, but none resulted in a goal, so the game went to overtime.

Overtime and Shootout

The overtime period started and it looked like it would have been over multiple times if it wasn’t for Vejmelka.

Halfway into the extra frame, Hughes has three golden opportunities to score, but Vejmelka saved them all.

Then, Hamilton took a penalty, but the Coyotes didn’t take advantage.

With already a point secured after going to overtime, the game between both sides for an extra point went to a shootout.

For both Coyotes goals, the scorers had the same first name.

Nick Bjugstad and Nick Schmaltz buried both opportunities they had while Vejmelka stoned both chances for the Devils.

Post Game Notes

After being the underdogs before the game, the Coyotes cameback and stole a win in New Jersey to become 1-0 in the standings.

For the goalies, Schmid made 30 saves on 33 shots and Vejmelka had 33 on 36.

Schmaltz, Keller and Cooley were the only forwards with points for the ‘Yotes and they had two each.

With three assists, Hughes led the game in that category for New Jersey.

For penalties, the Devils took 8 while Arizona ended with 6.

In the last four trips to New Jersey, the Coyotes have won three times.

Another milestone was achieved with this victory as this was the first time in two years Arizona came from behind and won.

For their next game, the Coyotes will cross the Hudson River as they will play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 16.

Coyotes vs. Devils Player Spotlight: Logan Cooley vs. Jack Hughes

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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