The road has been good to the Arizona Coyotes so far, and a return to it might help them get back on track.
The same can’t be said for the New Jersey Devils on home ice, though they put together a strong effort in their latest home game before finally getting into the win column their last time out.
The Coyotes open a five-game trip looking to overcome their struggles at New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Arizona (3-2-0) has dropped its last two, both at home, allowing nine goals after giving up two in its first three games. The Coyotes were impressive in knocking off Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Anaheim, but couldn’t maintain their level of play against Minnesota and Boston.
Arizona allowed two power-play goals and one short-handed goal in the third period against the Bruins on Saturday, falling 5-3.
"Obviously it’s early in the year but we’ve got to get back on the winning track," forward Mikkel Boedker told the team’s official website. "It’s always good to get away from home a little bit, and get that team bonding and team building. Let’s see if we can find some life again like we had the first three games."
That’s when goaltender Mike Smith was at his best. He recorded his 28th career shutout in a 4-0 win over the Ducks on Wednesday and made 104 saves during the 3-0 start.
However, he’s posted an .867 save percentage in the past two contests and was pulled in favor of Anders Lindback midway through a 4-3 loss to the Wild on Thursday.
Smith started both games against the Devils last season, recording a 3.01 goals-against average in a pair of losses.
Arizona hasn’t enjoyed much success at the Prudential Center, going 0-3-1 in the last four there and 3-8-0 in the past 11.
New Jersey is 0-2-1 at home, although it played well in a 2-1 shootout loss to visiting Western Conference power San Jose on Friday.
The Devils (1-3-1) then defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in overtime Sunday, though they continued to struggle offensively. New Jersey has managed eight goals on the season.
Former Coyotes and Rangers forward Lee Stempniak scored in the extra period to give coach John Hynes his first win. The frustrations from the slow start were evident in a wild celebration around Stempniak after he ended the 3-on-3 overtime.
The goal came immediately after New York’s Derek Stepan hit the crossbar with a hard shot behind Cory Schneider at the other end.
”Maybe that celebration was a little too much for the fifth game of the year," said Schneider, who’s expected to start Tuesday. "… but you could just tell, everyone, some frustration and anger came out there … It felt really good, but it (was) just one game.”
Stempniak scored three goals with the Rangers in two wins over Arizona last season.
" … we’re turning in the right direction," Stempniak said.
Young Arizona forwards Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Tobias Rieder have combined for 10 goals and seven assists.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan will play in his 1,400th game Tuesday.