Newark, N.J. —Jakob Chychrun had an assist in his return to the lineup after missing 11 games, and goalie Karel Veimelka made 35 saves around the pipes for the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-1 victory against the Devils at the Rock Wednesday night.
Chychrun missed seven games as well after sustaining an upper-body injury in a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Dec. 10 and four after he was placed in NHL COVID-19 protocol Jan. 10.
“I just wanted to simplify,” Chychrun said. “When you miss that much time, I think you need little refreshers here and there. I felt my feet were moving; I was jumping up into plays. I wanted to defend hard and move my feet, and I think I did a decent job of that.”
Dysin Mayo, Travis Boyd and Johan Larsson also scored for Arizona, which has won three of its last five contest. Loui Eriksson added two assists.
Mayo scored on a snap shot through a screen from the tip of the right face-off circle for a 1-1 tie at 6:50 of the second period.
“He’s just got a lot of confidence, a lot of swagger,” Chychrun said of goalie Veimelka. “He’s very calm in the net and he’s been really key for us this year. I think he’s just kind of soaking it all in and so happy to see his success. He works at keeping it up, and we’re going to need him to continue to play that way.”
Crouse scored on a snap shot while on his knees from the slot for a 2-1 lead at 11:32, and Boyd scored on a deflection to increase the lead to 3-1 at 14:13.
Arizona scored three goals on seven shots in the second period to take the lead.
“I knew we would bounce back,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. “That doesn’t mean we knew we will win, but we knew the worst was behind us after the first period. I really liked the way the guys were talking on the bench; they were solution driven. They were talking, looking at what was happening, and where we had to do better.
“The first period wasn’t our best, and the Devils played really well, but I knew we’d be better.”
Johan Larsson scored from the slot after a touch pass from Crouse at 8:27 of the third period for 4-1 final.
“I think the ability to fight through a little bit of the frustration when you play that well and don’t score [is something we need to learn,” New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff said. “When you see three of the first four or five shots go in, you’ve got to battle through that frustration.”
Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 13 of 17 shots and Nico Hischier had the only goal for the Devils, which lost four of its last five contests.
The matchup was the first between the Eastern and Western Conference franchises since Dec. 14, 2019 — which the Devils won 2-1 — and the first at the Prudential Center since Oct. 25, 2019 (a 5-3 win for the Coyotes).
“We did a lot of good stuff,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “If the message wasn’t there, we wouldn’t have come out the way we did.”
The NHL announced before the game revisions to schedule in order for the league’s 32 teams to conclude their regular seasons by April 29. Both the Devils and Coyotes were among the teams whose schedules were reconfigured as New Jersey had eight games moved and Arizona six.
The Devils will now visit Toronto on Jan. 31, Ottawa on Feb. 7, Montreal on Feb. 8, St. Louis two days later, and Pittsburgh on Feb. 24. They will host Pittsburgh on Feb. 13, Tampa Bay on Feb. 15, and Montreal on April 7.