By MATT SUGAM, Associated Press
NEWARK, NJ (AP) — Jesper Boqvist’s first goal of the season provided the spark the New Jersey Devils needed to keep their hot streak going.
Boqvist scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and the Devils beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 Saturday night for their ninth straight win.
“Timely goal scoring by different guys,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “I even think tonight you know Bo getting on the score sheet, that gave us some energy, that got us going. Soon after we scored another one. … I think it’s been a total team effort. A lot of guys have contributed to the fact that we’ve been able to win that amount of games.”
Tomas Tatar had a goal and an assist, and Jack Hughes and Dougie Hamilton also scored for the Devils, who have their longest streak of winning nine in a row since Nov. 17-Dec. 7, 2007. Third-string goalie Akira Schmid had 16 saves in his first start of the season.
“For me, it’s just pushing the pace, getting to my spots early and getting set for shots,” said Schmid. “It’s all about getting to the shots, that’s just the main key for me.
Dylan Guenther and Clayton Keller scored for Arizona, which had won the first three games of its season-high 14-game road trip. Karel Vejmelka finished with 22 saves.
“Too many turnovers,” Arizona coach André Tourigny said. “We dig in our tank of energy way too much. When you turn the puck over, you have to work twice as hard to defend.”
Boqvist put the Devils ahead 3-2 with 8:41 left as he converted his own rebound for his first of the season.
Hamilton’s power-play goal with 5:45 remaining gave New Jersey a two-goal lead.
Tatar scored 6:29 into the game to put the Devils up 1–0.
Guenther tied it with a power-play goal at 9:04, but Hughes put the Devils back ahead just 23 seconds later with his fifth.
Devils fans started the season yelling, “Fire Lindy” chants directed at head coach Lindy Ruff. At the end of the second period with the team in the midst of a long winning streak, they were chanting “Sorry, Lindy!” throughout the Prudential Center.
“I accept the apology and maybe one day we can all sit down and have a beer and laugh about it,” Ruff said with a smile.
Keller beat Nico Hischier and scored a backhand goal 8:19 into the second to tie it 2-2 on another power-play goal.
Schmid got the start two nights after getting his first NHL win in relief in New Jersey’s win against Ottawa after Vitek Vanecek collided with a Senators player.
The Coyotes’ road trip is tied for the longest in NHL history and necessitated while annex construction of Mullett Arena at Arizona State University is completed. The team relocated to a 5,000-seat arena on the college campus while the franchise is seeking approval for a permanent home in Tempe, Arizona.
The Devils’ franchise record is 13 straight wins set Feb. 26-March 23, 2001. … New Jersey is 11-0-0 this season when Hischier records a point. He had an assist in this game.
Coyotes: At the New York Rangers on Sunday night.
Devils: At Montreal on Tuesday night.
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