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Coyotes end slump, beat Devils 4-3

by Brian Hunter

What the Phoenix Coyotes lacked in quantity Thursday night, they made up for with quality.

The Coyotes put just 19 shots on Martin Brodeur, who was coming off a 51-save shutout of the New York Rangers in his previous start, but they got third-period goals 76 seconds apart from Daniel Winnik and Zybnek Michalek and held on to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 at Arena.

Matthew Lombardi and Peter Mueller had given the Coyotes a 2-0 lead after the first period, but the Devils rallied to tie the game in the second on goals by Brian Rolston and Travis Zajac.

"We allowed them to come back in the game and we just kind of stepped on it at the end," Winnik said after the Coyotes ended a three-game losing streak.

Winnik paid the price to notch the go-ahead goal with 8:04 remaining. He drove to the net against New Jersey defenseman Mark Fraser, with both players reaching their sticks out in reaction to a feed from Phoenix forward Vernon Fiddler.

In trying to keep the puck away from Winnik, Fraser ended up deflecting it on his own goalie and Winnik ended up getting the tip of his blade on it anyway, sending it past Brodeur. On his follow-through, Fraser clipped Winnik in the face and ended up getting a two-minute penalty for high-sticking.

"He paid the price to win," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "That's not a bad thing. I'd take a bleeding nose for a win, wouldn't you?"

You'd probably also take it to score just your third goal of the season and 17th in 171 career games.

"Fids did a great job of winning (the faceoff)," Winnik said. "I managed to cycle off of it and I happened to beat the guy to the net."

On the ensuing power play, Michalek provided the Coyotes with a vital insurance goal, taking advantage of Taylor Pyatt's screen to blast a point shot that got by Brodeur.

Rolston brought the Devils within a goal when he beat Ilya Bryzgalov with 4:44 left for his second of the game, but they couldn't manage the tying goal even after pulling Brodeur for an extra attacker. Bryzgalov finished with 31 saves.

"It was all one play," Rolston said. "They got the backdoor goal and they got the power play out of it and scored. They were resilient tonight."

Lombardi started the scoring with 6:44 to play in the first, redirecting a Keith Yandle pass between Brodeur's pads. Mueller scored just his third of the season but second in three games with 30.4 seconds left in the period after stealing the puck from Colin White in the Phoenix zone and outracing the New Jersey defense down the ice.

"Confidence is earned," Tippett said of Mueller, who scored 22 goals as a rookie before slipping to 13 last season. "The goal he scored tonight was an outstanding individual effort. We've been looking for that all year."

The Devils came back, as Rolston ended a nine-game goal drought by beating Bryzgalov on a breakaway 9:21 into the second. Rod Pelley set up the play with a long outlet pass. Zajac then tied the score at 14:06 with a shot from the high slot after Zach Parise broke up a clearing attempt at the top of the right circle and the puck trickled over to his linemate.

"In the first period they had the two goals and we talked about what they were doing well," Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. "In the second period we came back strong."

But the third belonged to the Coyotes, who picked up only their second win in seven games.

Material from wire services was used in this report

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