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game recap

Coyotes fall to Devils in shootout, one point out of wild card in West

Arizona drops fourth straight; Zacha wins it for New Jersey

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Zacha's shootout tally

ARI@NJD: Zacha puts the Devils ahead in shootout

Pavel Zacha snaps a quick shot past past Darcy Kuemper to give the Devils the edge in the sixth round of the shootout

  • 00:24 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Arizona Coyotes fell out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 2-1 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

The Coyotes (36-32-7), who have lost four straight, are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Saturday.

"We didn't play as (a five-man unit)," Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. "It wasn't what New Jersey did; it was what we did. We have to play as five and the pressure is going to hit you and the guy without the puck has to want the puck. I feel like a couple of guys are hoping that puck doesn't come to them, so that's something we've got to correct."


[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Devils highlights]


Mackenzie Blackwood made 23 saves for the Devils (28-39-9), who have been eliminated from playoff contention. Blackwood earned his second NHL shootout win after stopping four of six in the tie-breaker.

Pavel Zacha scored for New Jersey in the sixth round of the shootout on his first shootout attempt this season and Richard Panik hit the crossbar to end the tiebreaker. Blake Coleman scored in the fifth round for the Devils and Conor Garland responded with a goal for the Coyotes before Zacha scored his first NHL shootout goal.

"I saw [Nico Hischier] was the closest to scoring in the shootout," Zacha said. "He was pretty close to shooting the five-hole. It was a bit open and so was mine. My mind was made up when I was going and the goalie was really far from the net."

Video: ARI@NJD: Stafford goes five-hole on Kuemper

Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper said, "[Zacha] kind of made a quick move and opened me up."

Kuemper made 31 saves, including 12 in the third period. He stopped four of six in the shootout. 

"What I like about [Kuemper] is he didn't like that first one he allowed, but I thought he dug in, was mentally strong, and gave us a chance," Tocchet said. "We had the puck twice on our stick to win it in the shootout and didn't."

Video: ARI@NJD: Blackwood extends pad to complete two saves

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored off a wrist shot from the point and through a screen to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead at 2:31 of the first period. Drew Stafford scored a goal for the Devils in his second straight game off a wrist shot from the top of the left circle to make it 1-1 at 17:01 of the first.

New Jersey finished 0-for-5 on the power play. Arizona went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Coyotes had a 4-on-3 power play in overtime when Kyle Palmieri was penalized for cross-checking at 55 seconds, but the Devils limited them to one shot.

"I thought the effort was there and we battled and fought, but maybe it wasn't one of our best games," Arizona defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "I felt like the guys did the best they could. The Devils played a good game. They were fast, got pucks deep and were all over us at times. I think this point might be huge in the end too, so we'll remain positive knowing it's going to be a battle until the end."

Video: ARI@NJD: Ekman-Larsson beats Blackwood through screen


They said it

"I find we're a tight hockey club and even when we have the puck offensively, we're just not relaxing with the puck ... we're skittish. This is a learning lesson. We can learn a lot from this game over the next 24 hours, right? We just got to learn a lot quicker. We need to relax and it's my job to get these guys to relax a little bit." -- Coyotes coach Rich Tocchet

"There are a lot of talented players in the League and whenever you get them 1-on-1 they can make you look pretty silly or you can get the best of them. It can go either way, so it is a great challenge for me. We've had a tough stretch there, so it's really nice to up a win." -- Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood


Need to know

Derek Stepan went 13-for-19 on face-offs in 19:39 of ice time in his return to the lineup after missing 10 games with a left knee injury. ... Devils coach John Hynes said left wing Taylor Hall (41 games missed, knee surgery) continues his off-ice rehab but doesn't know if he'll play again this season. "He's not skating, so I don't know how much that will happen," Hynes said.


What's next

Coyotes: At the New York Islanders on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Devils: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Monday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG-B, NHL.TV)

Video: Zacha's shootout goal lifts Devils past Coyotes, 2-1

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