NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Barrett Hayton has been patiently waiting for his chance to get back into the Arizona Coyotes’ lineup, and the 19-year-old made the most of it against Jack Hughes and the New Jersey Devils.
Hayton scored his first NHL goal early in the third period, Antti Raanta was outstanding in making 32 saves and the Coyotes overcame two deficits to beat Hughes and the Devils 5-3 on Friday night.
“I think this is what you dream of for so long and every day you’re learning, so you’re trying to be sharp every day,” Hayton said. “Mentally you don’t really take any breaks, so I think I was prepared and I had some fresh legs. So that was like an advantage for me to get out there and get kind of wheeling around.”
Hayton got a chance to play in his third career game and first since Oct. 12 because Brad Richardson was hurt in a loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday.
With the score tied 3-all, Hayton was in the right spot to redirect Nick Schmaltz’s pass under Devils goalie MacKenzie Blackwood to cap a 2-on-1 break 1:45 into the final period.
“Definitely a pretty cool experience,” Hayton said. “It’s something that I dreamed of for the longest time and it was a great play by Smaltzy there.”
Schmaltz, Michael Grabner and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored as the Coyotes won their fifth in six games. Clayton Keller added an empty-net goal for his first of the season to ice it with 1:40 to play.
Hughes, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, had his best game, scoring once and setting up goals by Sami Vatanen and Pavel Zacha.
“I think tonight was a game I felt pretty good in, obviously,” said Hughes, who had two points in his first eight games. “It would have been nice for the team to win. We played a really good hockey game, made a few mistakes. That’s not a good loss.”
Taylor Hall was impressed with his linemate.
“You can sense he wants the puck. He is confident,” Hall said. “I really didn’t realize, but this is the first time he has played against people really older than him and there is going to be an adjustment there.”
Blackwood had a tough night in net, giving up four goals on 17 shots as the Devils’ modest two-game winning streak was snapped.
New Jersey had chances to tie it late but Raanta denied Wayne Simmonds on a power play and Nico Hischier hit the post with a shot.
Hughes had a goal and two assists in the first two periods to help the Devils take leads of 2-0 and 3-2.
The Coyotes rallied each time and the teams were tied 3-all heading into the third.
Ekman-Larsson tied it at 3 with a shot from the left circle that seemed to go right through Blackwood’s glove.
Zacha had given New Jersey the lead 31 seconds earlier from the left circle after being sprung by Hughes’ long pass.
Hughes also had the primary assist on Vatanen’s game-opening goal at 16:29 of the first period. The defenseman took a cross-ice pass and sent a puck from the corner that hit off the skate of Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski and deflected in.
Hughes got his second goal less than two minutes later with a laser shot from the right faceoff circle into the top corner on a power play.
“He’s fun to watch when he plays like this,” Blackwood said.
Schmaltz woke up the Coyotes with 17 seconds left in the period, taking Ekman-Larsson’s pass and beating Blackwood.
Grabner tied the game 2-all at 2:01 of the second, scoring his 22nd career short-handed goal with a backhand on a breakaway.
Grabner is second among active players in short-handed goals, trailing only Brad Marchand (26) of Boston. Coyotes D Jason Demers got his 200th point on Schmaltz’s goal. He is the third player taken in the fifth round or later in the 2008 draft to reach 200 points. The others are Cam Atkinson (Columbus) and Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota).
The Devils placed D Connor Carrick on injured reserve with an upper-body injury sustained in practice Thursday. D Will Butcher was activated off IR.
The Devils host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, their second game in 11 days.
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