By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – Daniel Winnik scored a goal and drew a penalty at nearly the same time on Thursday night to trigger the Coyotes' 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Jobing.com Arena.
With the score tied 2-2, Winnik deflected a pass by linemate Vernon Fiddler from the right corner past Devils goalie Martin Brodeur with 8:08 left in the game. The puck first hit the stick blade of Devils defenseman Mark Fraser at the top of the crease, but Winnik was there too, and he managed to nudge the puck into the goal a second before Fraser's stick hit him in the face and bloodied his nose. Fraser was whistled for high-sticking on the play, and the Coyotes made him and the Devils pay 1:16 later when defenseman Zbynek Michalek scored a power-play goal with a blast from the point around a screen by Taylor Pyatt.
Brian Rolston scored his second goal of the game at 15:16 to pull New Jersey to 4-3, but the Coyotes held the lead and snapped a season-long three-game winless streak.
"(Winnik) paid the price to win," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "That's not a bad thing. I'd take a bleeding nose for a win, wouldn't you?"
Matthew Lombardi and Peter Mueller also scored goals for Phoenix (27-16-5), which held a 2-0 lead after one period. Mueller's goal was a beauty scored on a breakaway against a future Hall-of-Fame goalie. Mueller knocked the puck away from Devils defenseman Colin White at Phoenix's blue line, retrieved it and then raced up the right wing at Brodeur and beat him with a nifty wrist shot.
"The goal he scored tonight was an outstanding individual effort," Tippett said. "We've been looking for that all year."
New Jersey got back in the game by dominating puck possession in the second period. Goals by Rolston and Travis Zajac less than five minutes apart evened the score. Before those goals, the Devils had a two-man advantage for 26 seconds, but that ended halfway through when Zajac was whistled for hooking.
"I thought the first period was a close period, we got two goals up, but it was a lot closer than that," Tippett said. "(In the) second period, we didn’t execute well with the puck. We couldn’t catch up to the pace of the game, took some penalties and I think that was a good wake-up call for us. I like the way we pushed a little bit in the third. It was a tight third (period) and we managed to come up with a couple big plays to get us some goals.”
Brodeur, who stopped 51 shots and shut out the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, stopped 15 of the 19 shots he faced.
Trailing 4-3, New Jersey Head Coach Jacques Lemaire pulled goalie Martin Brodeur for an extra attacker with 1:06 left in the game. The Coyotes were not fazed by the maneuver and did not allow New Jersey to get a shot on goal in the final 66 seconds.
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 31 of 34 shots to earn his first victory since Jan. 5 at Edmonton. It was Bryzgalov's 229th NHL game but his first vs. New Jersey.
• The Coyotes committed just three penalties, all in the second period. Not coincidentally, the Devils outshot Phoenix, 15-1, in the middle 20 minutes.
• Phoenix improved its record to 21-2-2 in the games in which it has scored the first goal.
• Ten Coyotes notched one point, including Radim Vrbata, who upped his point streak to three games.
• The Coyotes played minus defenseman Ed Jovanovski. The NHL on Monday suspended Jovanovski for two games for elbowing John Tavares of the New York Islanders in Saturday’s game. Phoenix also scratched Paul Bissonnette. New Jersey scratched Matthew Corrente, Andrew Peters and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.
"It was a footrace, and going up against (Martin) Brodeur like that was a little intimidating. That was a big goal for me, but also for the team as well... I'm pretty happy tonight."
"When you’re playing one of the top teams in the East, it’s always good to get a win. They’re a good test for us to kind of measure where we’re at right now, especially as everyone is making their playoff push."
"They were resilient tonight. As much pressure as we had on them, they worked it… They got an opportune power-play goal, and that was the difference in the game. A lot of times it comes down to special teams in the end, and that’s what happened."
• Jan. 14, 2010: PHX 4, NJD 3
1 - 0 PHX
2 - 0 PHX
2 - 1 PHX
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 PHX
4 - 2 PHX
4 - 3 PHX