The surprising New Jersey Devils look to continue their strong play on the road when they visit the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. The Devils have won three straight away from home after Friday’s 2-1 victory at Colorado and are 9-2-2 overall on the road as they sit one point behind first-place Columbus in the Metropolitan Division after missing the playoffs each of the last five seasons.
Rookie Jesper Bratt notched a goal and an assist while veteran center Brian Boyle scored for the third time in four games Thursday to lead New Jersey, which is 4-1-1 in its last six contests overall and 4-1-0 in the second of back-to-backs this season. The Coyotes have dropped three straight games (0-2-1) while scoring a total of four goals after a promising stretch during which they won four of five contests. Arizona lost 3-0 at Calgary on Thursday but was within a goal until the midway point of the third period thanks to a solid effort from netminder Scott Wedgewood, who made a career-high 41 saves while playing in his fifth straight game in place of injured No. 1 netminder Antti Raanta (upper body). The Coyotes are just 2-8-1 at home this season and dropped a 4-3 decision at New Jersey on Oct. 28 for their sixth loss in the last seven meetings with the Devils.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, MSG Plus (New Jersey), FSN Arizona
ABOUT THE DEVILS (15-6-4): Defenseman Sami Vatanen, who was acquired from Anaheim in a multi-player deal on Thursday, made his debut with New Jersey against Colorado and registered one shot in 23 minutes, 13 seconds of ice time. Friday also marked the return of Marcus Johansson, who had been out since Nov. 1 due to a concussion, and the versatile forward logged 16:09 of ice time. Taylor Hall leads the team in scoring with 27 points, including six in his last four games, while rookies Nico Hischier and defenseman Will Butcher are tied for second with 18.
ABOUT THE COYOTES (6-18-4): Rookie Clayton Keller is losing steam in his race for the Calder Trophy as he is mired in a 12-game goal-scoring drought, but the 19-year-old center still leads the team with 21 points. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson recorded seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last seven games to place second on the team with 18 while Brendan Perlini registered four of his eight goals in the last six games. Max Domi may be warming up with three points in three games, tying fellow forwards Derek Stepan and Christian Dvorak with 15 points.
1. Arizona RW Dylan Strome, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, has registered four shots and zero points in two games since being recalled from Tucson of the American Hockey League.
2. New Jersey’s veteran C Travis Zajac has yet to record a point in eight games since returning from a torn pectoral muscle.
3. Coyotes D Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) missed Thursday’s game at Calgary and is questionable for Saturday.
PREDICTION: Devils 5, Coyotes 3