GLENDALE - Center Martin Hanzal hasn't seen much of the New Jersey Devils in his seven years with the Phoenix Coyotes. But when he does, he makes the most of it.
Hanzal had an assist and the game-winning goal Saturday night to help the Coyotes hang on to beat the Devils 3-2. He has three goals and eight points in his five career games against New Jersey.
Phoenix, which beat the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 on Thursday, has won back-to-back games for the first time since beating the Colorado Avalanche and New York Islanders on Dec. 12-14.
"It's funny how you seem to get lucky against the same teams. I don't have a way to explain it," Hanzal said. "The most important thing is we have two wins in a row. We've got some confidence. We have to build on this. We had a good start tonight and kept going for 60 minutes, which is what we have to do."
Hanzal's goal came on the power play; the Coyotes have scored at least once with the extra man in seven straight games, one shy of their longest streak since moving to Arizona in 1996-97.
Fourth-liners Jordan Szwarz and Jeff Halpern scored even-strength goals for Phoenix, the first for the Coyotes in four games. Keith Yandle contributed two assists and has four in the past three games.
Szwarz also had his chin sliced open by the skate of New Jersey's Reid Boucher late in the second period, requiring two trips to the training room for a combined 11 stitches.
"That's the first time that's ever happened to me. It's a scary thing," Szwarz said. "Still it's a great night for me. Our line has been playing well lately and it's great to be rewarded.
"I knew right away something hit my face and I thought it was a skate. I saw a bunch of blood pouring out so I figured I'd better get off the ice. I haven't been told when the anesthesia will wear off, but I'm feeling OK right now."
Ryane Clowe had a goal and an assist for New Jersey, which had been 3-0-3 in its past six games. The Devils are 0-4-0 all-time at Jobing.com Arena and haven't won in Arizona since beating the Coyotes 3-0 at America West Arena (now US Airways Center) in Phoenix on Feb. 12, 2003.
Jaromir Jagr made it 3-2 when he deflected home a Clowe shot with 2:14 left in regulation and goaltender Martin Brodeur on the bench for an extra attacker. It was Jagr's 15th goal of the season and the 696th of his career.
New Jersey finished the four-game Western road trip with a 1-1-2 record.
"It was a lot better trip before this game," Jagr said. "Now we have to go home and regroup. We have some tough games before the (Olympic) break and six or seven against Western Conference teams, so we have to make sure we get the points."
Jagr had another good chance with 1:02 left, but Mike Smith smothered his wrist shot from the slot.
"He's a Czech God, right?" Hanzal said of the 41-year-old Jagr, who will be his teammate in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. "Whatever age he is, I don't want to say, but he's a still an amazing hockey player. He got another (goal). It's amazing to see him out there doing it."
Smith made 32 saves and has back-to-back wins for the first time since beating the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues on Nov. 9-12. His teammates helped out with 25 blocked shots, one shy of a season high, including six by Derek Morris.
Brodeur made 24 saves, including several big stops early to keep his team in the game.
"We had a chance to get six out of eight points, which is a helluva road trip against good teams," Clowe said. "It hurts because the slow start kills you. We needed those points."
"They came out hard but it was more us. We weren't sharp coming out of our own end. We talked before the game about how they are a good forechecking team. We got down 2-0 chance we woke up. We got in a hole and couldn't get out of it."
The goals for the Coyotes came from unexpected sources.
Kyle Chipchura won a race with Devils defenseman Jon Merrill for a puck behind the New Jersey net. He threaded a centering pass to Szwarz, who beat Brodeur over the stick on the short side at 2:35 for his third goal of the season. It was Phoenix's first even-strength goal in 184 minutes and 25 seconds, dating back to Mike Ribeiro's goal against the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 11.
Brodeur made big saves on Shane Doan and Yandle, but another fourth-liner made it 2-0 at 13:13. After a power play that yielded no shots, Halpern took a David Moss pass hard down the left side, used defenseman Marek Zidlicky as a screen and put a hard wrist shot past Brodeur's glove for his second goal.
But the Devils got back in the game late in the period. Mikkel Boedker took a holding penalty and New Jersey capitalized at 18:44. Smith stopped an Eric Gelinas shot that was shrouded by a Michael Ryder screen, but the rebound came to Clowe alone right of the net. His second goal of the season cut the margin to 2-1 and gave New Jersey some jump going into the second period.
Smith made some big saves early in the middle period, and got some help as well. He was out of his crease when his clearing attempt was run down by Clowe behind the Phoenix net. But Yandle alertly beat Clowe to the post to avert a potential game-tying goal.
Phoenix took back the momentum by converting on the power play. With Zidlicky off for interference, Brodeur stopped Yandle's shot from center point. But Hanzal was screening in front of the crease, picked up the rebound and squeezed a shot through Brodeur at 14:22 for his 14th of the season to restore the Coyotes' two-goal lead.
|Back to top ↑|