GLENDALE, Ariz. — The last time Cory Schneider visited Gila River Arena, the Coyotes fired 96 shot attempts his way but couldn’t put one past him. On Saturday, Arizona only needed 10 shots to send Schneider to the bench.
Tobias Rieder scored his career-high 15th goal of the season, rookie Brendan Perlini scored his 12th goal in 42 games, Radim Vrbata moved into eighth place on the franchise’s all-time goal scoring list past Jeremy Roenick and Laurie Boschman, rookie Jakob Chychrun netted his sixth goal of the season, the dormant power play accounted for two goals to snap out of a 3-for-39 slump and New Jersey native Anthony DeAngelo scored a critical late goal in a 5-4 win over the Devils that was New Jersey’s 10th straight loss (0-8-2).
Got all that? There’s more.
Mike Smith stopped New Jersey’s Taylor Hall on a penalty shot with 2:38 remaining to keep the Coyotes from blowing a 4-0 lead.
“We didn’t totally blow it,” quipped Smith, who squeezed his pads to stop Hall. “I don’t know what his move was but I’ve played against him for a quite a few years now. You just try and be patient and make him make the first move.”
Among the notable achievements in this game, Chychrun is tied for second among rookie defenseman in goals and also added a pair of assists. Vrbata leads the team in goals (16), assists (33) and points (49).
Add in his AHL numbers and Perlini has 26 goals in 59 combined games in his rookie year. The odd thing about that? Coach Dave Tippett thought Perlini would be more productive as a pro than as a junior. He has proven correct.
“He can shoot the puck,” Tippett said of Perlini. “He got ahold of that one.”
Rieder has spent a lot of time in practice and the offseason working on his finishing skills, so to reach a career high was satisfying.
“I feel like I could have reached fifteen a little earlier but sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t,” Rieder said. “It feels good, though. It’s good that the work pays off.”
The work shouldn’t have been so difficult for the Coyotes on Saturday. Schneider entered the game having allowed 11 goals in 10 career games against the Coyotes with four shutouts, but Arizona chased him early in the second period when Perlini’s bullet found the far side of the net for a four-goal lead.
It looked like a laugher of a game against a team with absolutely no momentum, but Kyle Palmieri scored at 5:47 of the second period, Beau Bennett scored late in the period and Palmieri scored 17 seconds into the third period to slice the lead to 4-3 and make the Coyotes sweat.
DeAngelo gave Arizona a 5-3 lead when he waited and waited and finally beat Kinkaid through traffic from the point at 13:31 of the third period. Former Coyote John Moore scored on a backhander off a pass from Pavel Zacha at 15:02 of the third period to cut the lead to 5-4 and set up the Hall vs. Smith drama.
“Entertainment,” Tippett said. “A win’s a win. We’ll move on.”
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