NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Nick Bjugstad and Nick Schmaltz scored in the shootout, and the Arizona Coyotes recovered after giving up a two-goal lead and rallied to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Friday night.
Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist in regulation, and Matt Dumba and Sean Durzi also scored for the Coyotes in their regular season opener. Rookie forward Logan Cooley had two assists in his NHL debut and Karel Vejmelka made 33 saves.
“We played an elite team. We knew what to expect,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said. “We had urgency. We had pace.”
Jesper Bratt had two goals and an assist, Dougie Hamilton had a goal and an assist, and Jack Hughes had three assists for New Jersey, which lost one night after beating Detroit at home 4-3 in its opener. Akira Schmid finished with 30 saves.
Bjugstad and Schmaltz scored on Arizona’s two attempts in the shootout, and Vejmelka stopped New Jersey’s Timo Meier and Bratt to secure the win.
“Everybody came to play. We have a lot of new guys and there was a lot of excitement in the room,” said Schmaltz, who is in his sixth season with the Coyotes. “We did a really good job and we were hard on them.”
Dumba opened the scoring at 6:22 of the first, rifling a shot past Schmid. Dumba made his Coyotes debut after signing as a free agent following 10 seasons with Minnesota.
Durzi made it 2-0 on the power-play at 4:23 of the second, but the Devils then scored three goals in an 11-minute span to take the lead.
“It was a disappointing start to the game; first period again,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said of his team’s slow start. “I thought they looked fresher, ready to play in their first game. We know there’s no easy game so if you don’t have your ‘A’ game right off the bat, the other team could take it to you.”
Bratt got New Jersey on the scoreboard at 8:09 of the second, sending a pass from Hughes past Vejmelka, and Hamilton tied it with his second goal in two nights with 7:31 left in the middle period.
Bratt got his second goal of the game with 1:07 remaining in the second to put New Jersey ahead 3-2.
Schmaltz converted on the power-play with 6:05 left in the third to tie it again off a pass from Cooley.
“I just whacked it and it went in,” Schmaltz said.
Hughes, who led the Devils with 43 goals and 99 points last season, now has five points in two games after scoring twice the previous night.
For the 19-year-old Cooley, the third overall pick in the 2022 draft who played for the University of Minnesota last year, the evening was special following his customary rookie lap in warmups.
“I thought I did a good job of staying focused. I just wanted to have fun,” he said. “I was a little nervous at the start but once you get going, it’s just another hockey game.”
The Coyotes added six free agents during the offseason including forwards Dumba, Bjugstad, Jason Zucker, and Alex Kerfoot, and defensemen Travis Dermott and Troy Stecher. Arizona acquired Durzi with a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
NOTES: The teams meet again March 16 in Arizona. … New Jersey scratched D Chris Tierney, D Colin Miller and F Curtis Lazar. … Arizona scratched F Travis Boyd and Stecher.
Devils: Host Florida on Monday night.
Coyotes: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL