Playoff Hopes Dim as Devils Suffer Ugly Loss to Coyotes | 03/16/2024

Dawson Mercer defends Clayton Keller

The New Jersey Devils fell 4-1 to the 27th place Arizona Coyotes on Saturday evening at Mullett Arena. Another poor showing in the first period proved too big a hill to climb for New Jersey as they lost the season series to the Coyotes and dropped two crucial points in the playoff standings. With the loss, the Devils fell to 32-31-4, while Arizona improved to 28-35-5.

Game Recap

Period One

For the 49th time this season, the Devils surrendered the game’s first goal. After a failed clear by New Jersey, J.J. Moser hit the back of the net from the high slot for his 5th goal of the season at 9:37. Sean Durzi and Nick Schmaltz collected the assists.

The Devils found themselves in some penalty trouble and gave up a second goal at 14:02. Dylan Guenther beat Kaapo Kahkonen over the shoulder for a power play tally. Schmaltz and Clayton Keller had the assists.

Then, following a bad giveaway in front of the Devils’ net, the Coyotes grabbed a late three-goal lead at 17:32. Logan Cooley lit the lamp from Lawson Crouse.

The Devils were outshot 15-13 and went to the intermission down by three.

Period Two

The Devils made a change in net for the beginning of the middle frame, swapping Kahkonen in favor of Nico Daws.

New Jersey got the spark they needed at 7:01 with Nick DeSimone’s first goal as a Devil, making up for his turnover that led to Arizona’s third goal. Curtis Lazar found DeSimone with a pass through the slot that he buried behind Karel Vejmelka. Jack Hughes also added a secondary assist.

With his assist on the goal, Lazar reached his new career-high in points, with 21.

The Devils outshot the Coyotes 12-8 in the period.

Period Three

The Devils had a decent start to the third, but mistakes and poor execution on passes kept them from generating dangerous chances.

Keller hit the empty net to ice the game for the Coyotes at 18:29. Schmaltz had the lone assist.

The Devils outshot Arizona 38-32 in the loss.

Takeaways

Slow starts have been the story all season and that was again the case in Arizona. The Devils allowed the first goal for the 49th time in 67 games and could never recover. They came out disconnected and lackadaisical and ultimately cost themselves the game in the first twenty minutes.

Consistency also remained an issue for New Jersey. Throughout the season, they have yet to string together more than three consecutive wins or losses. Given their position in the standings and coming off a strong showing in Dallas on Thursday night, the team needed to take advantage of a struggling Coyotes team and build momentum heading into the final few weeks of the regular season. Every point in the standings is essential and they must find a way to put together strong consecutive performances if they have any intention of making the postseason.

Up Next

The Devils get no rest as they fly to Las Vegas to take on the reigning champion Golden Knights on Sunday afternoon.

Like New Jersey, the Golden Knights have also struggled to string together wins and are just 3-6-1 in their previous ten games.

This is the second and final meeting of the regular season between the Devils and Golden Knights. New Jersey won the first matchup 6-5 in overtime on January 22.

Puck drop is scheduled for 3:30 EST on TNT, MAX and SN360.

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