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Coyotes claw past Devils 4-1 behind Vejmelka, Crouse

Lawson Crouse scored a goal and added an assist, and Karel Vejmelka made 35 saves to help lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Dysin Mayo, Travis Boyd and Johan Larsson also scored for Arizona, which has won three of its last five games. Loui Eriksson added two assists.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 13 of 17 shots and Nico Hischier had the lone goal for New Jersey, which has dropped four of its last five.

Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse skates with the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

The matchup was the first between the Eastern and Western Conference franchises since Dec. 14, 2019 — which the Devils won 2-1 — and the first at the Prudential Center since Oct. 25, 2019 (a 5-3 win for the Coyotes).

It was not one the seventh-place team in the Metropolitan Division will remember fondly, even if New Jersey did lead 1-0 after the first period thanks to Hischier’s power-play goal 6:09 into the game.

The sequence began when All-Star selection Jack Hughes blew past Janis Moser, but had his backhand attempt knocked away. Jesper Bratt corralled the loose puck and found Hischier, who beat Vejmelka with a wrist shot.

Arizona Coyotes center Travis Boyd (72) reacts after scoring a goal past New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Hischier’s eighth goal of the season was one of 12 shots the Devils were credited with in the first, while Arizona’s lone attempt came off Ilya Lyubushkin’s stick with 1:07 left the period.

Arizona drew even at 1 on Mayo’s third of the season at 6:50 of the second period. Crouse put the Coyotes ahead with his 10th of the season 4:42 later.

Boyd extended the lead to 3-1 by deflecting Clayton Keller’s attempt past Blackwood at 14:13.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Dysin Mayo reacts after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Any comeback hopes New Jersey had were snuffed out when Larsson converted Crouse's feed 8:27 into the third.

What will irk the Devils is that they outplayed the Coyotes for much of the game. New Jersey finished with an 36-17 advantage in shots on goal and out-attempted Arizona 66-43. The Devils also went 1 for 2 on the man advantage and killed both Coyotes power plays.

SCHEDULE CHANGES

Arizona Coyotes center Travis Boyd (72) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

The NHL announced before the game revisions to schedule in order for the league’s 32 teams to conclude their regular seasons by April 29. Both the Devils and Coyotes were among the teams whose schedules were reconfigured as New Jersey had eight games moved and Arizona six.

The Devils will now visit Toronto on Jan. 31, Ottawa on Feb. 7, Montreal on Feb. 8, St. Louis two days later, and Pittsburgh on Feb. 24. They will host Pittsburgh on Feb. 13, Tampa Bay on Feb. 15, and Montreal on April 7.

Arizona will travel to Vancouver on Feb. 8, and Seattle the next day. The Coyotes will welcome Tampa Bay on Feb. 11, Los Angeles on Feb. 19, Dallas the next day, and Seattle on March 22.

Arizona Coyotes center Travis Boyd (72) looks to pass around New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler (71) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

ROSTER MOVES

The Devils and Coyotes’ rosters were buoyed by the additions of Blackwood and defenseman Jakob Chychrun, respectively. Blackwood made his first start since Jan. 8 after being removed from New Jersey’s COVID-19 protocol Monday, while Chychrun had missed Arizona’s previous 11 games with an upper-body injury, as well as having spent time in protocol.

UP NEXT

New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood reacts against the Arizona Coyotes during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Coyotes: Visit the New York Islanders on Friday.

Devils: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/ap_sports

New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (13) passes around Arizona Coyotes defenseman Janis Moser during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Dysin Mayo (61) controls the puck in front of New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich (17) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

New Jersey Devils right wing Nathan Bastian (14) checks Arizona Coyotes defenseman Janis Moser (62) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Newark, N.J. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)