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Vejmelka stops 37 shots, Coyotes keep Devils on skids with 4-1 win

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Karel Vejmelka stopped 37 shots and the Arizona Coyotes rode a three-goal first period to a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

J.J. Moser, Dylan Guenther, Logan Cooley and Clayton Keller scored for the Coyotes. Nick Schmaltz assisted on three of the goals. Keller also had an assist on Guenther's goal, giving him 400 career points. Shane Doan is the only other player to reach that mark during the franchise's 28 years in Arizona.

“We expect to come out there strong and (Vejmelka) was awesome tonight,” Keller said. “They had the momentum, and he made some big stops.”

The fast start was a point of emphasis before the game, Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said.

“We talked about our game management," he said. "The last three times we went on a long road trip, we came back home and our first period was not as good. We challenged our guys on that and they answered really well.”

Nick DeSimone scored for New Jersey, which has lost six of its last eight games and missed another chance to make up ground in the playoff race. The Devils entered Saturday four points out of the final wild-card spot in the East.

Moser opened the scoring at 9:37 with a wrist shot from between the circles. Guenther's goal, his 10th of the season, came on the power play after Tomas Nosek was called for tripping. His shot beat Kaapo Kahkonen high on the stick side at 14:02.

A turnover by DeSimone in front of the Devils’ net led to another Arizona goal. Lawson Crouse made the steal and fed Cooley for the one-timer past Kahkonen.

“Those 10 minutes cost us,” DeSimone said of the final half of the first period. “It’s disappointing that we put Kappo in that spot, myself included.”

Devils coach Travis Green made a goaltender change after the first period, bringing in Nico Daws, who blanked Arizona the rest of the way. Keller's third-period goal, his team-leading 27th, was an empty-net score.

Kahkonen had 12 saves and Daws made 16.

DeSimone's goal came seven minutes into the second period.

“We defend really hard, we block a lot of shots, we battle in front of the net,” Tourigny said. “When you take that kind of a lead, the other team has nothing to lose, now they’re coming with everything they got.”

The Coyotes played most of the way without center Nick Bjugstad, who left in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

New Jersey’s Kurtis MacDermid and Arizona’s Josh Brown dropped the gloves early in the third period and each received five minutes for fighting.

New Jersey’s Jonas Siegenthaler remains out with a concussion, which occurred when the New York Rangers’ Matt Rempe elbowed him in the head last week. Rempe was given a game misconduct and is serving a four-game suspension.

NEXT

New Jersey: At Vegas Sunday.

Arizona: At Dallas Wednesday night.

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