Backups in any walk of life rarely get glory, but Thursday night in Newark’s Prudential Center was different. Thomas Greiss wasn’t the celebrating teammate, but the celebrated.
Greiss played an excellent game for the Coyotes, coming up big in a shootout and getting a Mikkel Boedker goal to help the effort.
The Coyotes got out to a 2-0 lead before freak goal scored at the buzzer before the second intermission got the Devils within one. That goal came in the midst of a second and third-period shooting onslaught from New Jersey, who outshot the Coyotes over the course of the game.
Here’s a closer look at the win, by the numbers:
Neither team converted on a power play opportunity on Thursday and they collectively had seven. The Coyotes failed to capitalize on their three early advantaged opportunities and the Devils missed out on their four.
With just seconds remaining before second intermission on Thursday, the Coyotes had a 2-0 lead thanks to the efforts of Kyle Chipchura and Chris Summers, who each had a goal and an assist. That changed when Devils defenseman Jon Merrill fired the puck across the crease, off a falling Ryane Clowe, past Greiss and into the net with just 0.03 on the clock.
Greiss made 26 saves over the course of the Coyotes win, also stopping all three of the Devils’ shootout attempts in impressive fashion. As Smith’s backup on the season, and fill-in as of late, with Smith falling to injury, the 28-year-old German has recorded a career-best .924 save percentage thus far this season.
The Coyotes gave their goalie an early cushion, with Chipchura scoring just 2:21 into play, with assists coming from Lauri Korpikoski and Summers.
Chipchura’s early goal was just the fourth of the season for the center. His assist was just his 13th. Summers, meanwhile, grabbed just his second goal of the season and his first assist in 11 games played thus far.
The shootout win was the Coyotes’ seventh of the season. They’ve lost five more. Greiss is 2-0 in shootouts this season.
The Coyotes managed 27 shots on the night, compared to the Devils’ 28. After a weak, six-shot period in the 2nd, Phoenix put 11 on Devils goalie Martin Brodeur in the 3rd.