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GAME STORY: Devils 2, Coyotes 1

Kyle Palmieri's third period goal was the difference as the Devils edged the Coyotes to wrap their road trip with a win

by Marc Ciampa / NewJerseyDevils.com

GLENDALE, AZ - For the second straight night, the New Jersey Devils put forth a 60-minute effort and this time it paid off with two points in the standings as Kyle Palmieri's goal with 8:26 to go in the third period was the difference in a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. 

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 31 of 32 shots to earn the win while Mike McLeod had an assist on both Devils goals. 

Video: POST-GAME REPORT | Devils 2, Coyotes 1

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The Devils now return home to play the Anaheim Ducks on December 18. The game can be seen on MSG+ and heard on the Devils Hockey Network. Game time is 7:08 PM ET.  Tickets Still Available

The win was the first in the head coaching career of Alain Nasreddine.

"It felt really good. I won't lie. It's been an emotional 10 days. I've been looking forward to this win. We had some cracks at it," Nasreddine began. "I'm so impressed with the effort they put forth. Last night we played a really good team, came in last night at two in the morning. It's a great win."

Just over two minutes into the game, Mike McLeod swooped in and fired a Miles Wood rebound on goal. It was redirected by Jesper Boqvist past Coyotes starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper to put the Devils on the board.

It was the first of two points, both assists, for McLeod who was recalled a few days ago and hastily inserted into the lineup after Hall was held out on Friday. 

"It's not even about the points but the way he played the two games. He's heavy on pucks, gets in on the forecheck. He played with confidence. It's not just about the assists," stated Nasreddine. "That's what we need on this team. It doesn't always show up on the scoreboard. It did tonight but last night he did well too"

P.K. Subban took a couple of penalties in the opening period, one six minutes into the game and the other with just over six minutes left in the frame. Devils were able to kill off the first one but not the second. 

Video: BTS | Nasreddine's 1st NHL win

With three seconds left in the penalty, Alex Goligoski wired a wrist shot from the right circle glove side past Mackenzie Blackwood to knot the game up.

In the early goings of the third period, the Coyotes started to take over the play. The Devils were pinned in their own zone for close to two minutes. Eventually, they got a small reprieve when Wood was able to ice the puck. Six seconds later, Blackwood pounced on a loose puck to get the TV timeout. 

"Even last night when he came in, he made some huge saves to keep us in," Nasreddine said about his goaltender. "Tonight, you look at the saves he makes, they look easy. When they're scoring chances from point blank and he makes it look easy, it gives the team a lot of confidence."

Video: Condensed Game: Devils @ Coyotes

Arizona nearly took the lead midway through the third. With Simmonds in the box for a penalty, Goligoski had a wide-open net but fanned on his one-timer attempt.

Shortly after the penalty expired, Kyle Palmieri picked up the puck after a shot by McLeod was blocked and he roofed it under the crossbar to put the Devils in the lead.

"It feels great. As a team we competed the last two nights and gave ourselves chances to win. It's been a tough road trip. Battled through some bad games, good games that we lost. It was great to get Nas's first win," Palmieri stated after the game. "I think a lot of guys stepped up and were pulling in the right direction tonight. It's a good feeling when everyone in this room is battling for each other. The last two nights we've been doing that and it's nice to be rewarded."
 

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