DeBoer looking for better outcomes on the road. (Getty/NHL Images)
A three-point night by Ray Whitney sent the Devils to a 5-3 loss in Phoenix on Thursday.
Whitney struck for two goals and an assist, leading his line with Martin Hanzal (1g-1a) and Radim Vrbata (2a) to a seven-point outing.
The Devils (4-3-1) received goals from Zach Parise, Mark Fayne and Nick Palmieri, who tallied with seven seconds left in regulation. Fayne's marker gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead in the second period, but the Coyotes would respond with the next four.
The Devils suffered their seventh loss in 10 visits to Phoenix (3-7-0).
"I think they came out and were definitely the better team in the first period," said coach Peter DeBoer. "I thought we pushed back, but we've got to be better on the road. These are good teams. That's a fast team over there. We didn't slow them down enough tonight."
Johan Hedberg started his fifth straight game and was tested early, making 18 saves in the first period. He finished with 37 stops as the Devils allowed a season-high 42 shots.
"They played well," Hedberg said. "We knew they were going to come hard, we know they're a hard-working team. We know they're a good skating team, and I think they showed all that tonight."
A disputed goal by Patrick O'Sullivan put the Devils behind in the first. After Daymond Langkow swept the puck to the front of the net, O'Sullivan used his left skate to kick the puck over the line. A video review upheld the on-ice call of a goal at 6:18.
I thought we pushed back, but we've got to be better on the road. These are good teams. That's a fast team over there. We didn't slow them down enough tonight.- Coach Peter DeBoer
It was determined that Bryce Salvador's diving stick check made contact with the puck after it was kicked. Under rule 49.2: "a kicked puck that deflects off the stick of any player (excluding the goalkeeper's stick) shall be ruled a good goal."
"It was an unfortunate bounce," Salvador told MSG's Deb Placey. "He kicked it and then I guess it went off my stick and it got nullified. Sometimes those things happen."
DeBoer's club was coming off Tuesday's impressive 3-0 win in Los Angeles.
"It's disappointing," DeBoer said. "You want to keep building on the good things, but it's early in the year and we've got to continue to make progress to the point where we consistently get that L.A. game and we're not there yet."
The Devils struggled to slow the Phoenix attack after executing their game plan against the Kings.
"We managed to shut [Los Angeles] down in the neutral zone," Hedberg said. "Tonight, we let them gain a little momentum, a lot of speed there coming through, and they have a lot of speedy players."
Parise evened things up at 14:15. He pressured goaltender Mike Smith behind the net, then wrapped the puck around the right post and into the open cage. His fourth of the season tied Patrik Elias for the team lead.
Hedberg preserved the tie five minutes into the second, moving quickly to his left to stop Hanzal's one-timer on a 2-on-1 down low with Whitney.
Seconds later, Fayne's second of the year gave the Devils their first lead. With David Clarkson and Adam Henrique creating traffic in front, Fayne ripped a shot from the right point that made it 2-1 at 5:28.
Phoenix got two more in the period and took a 3-2 lead into the third. Whitney used a Vrbata rebound to score from a sharp angle on the power play, knotting the contest, 2-2, at 11:24.
Raffi Torres put the Coyotes back on top with less than a minute to go in the second. Keith Yandle wheeled into Devils territory and got the puck back for a shot from the point. Torres found the rebound at the right circle for the go-ahead tally with 49 seconds remaining.
Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko hit the left post with 2:29 to go in the second. Less than three minutes into the third, a Parise shot caught the iron after going off of Smith's left shoulder.
Phoenix added two more in the final frame. Whitney set up Hanzal's shortside goal under Hedberg's blocker at 12:16. Whitney took a Hanzal pass to finish a 2-on-1 for his second of the game at 14:26.
Palmieri notched his first of the season in the dying seconds of regulation. Henrique won a right circle draw back to Palmieri, who ripped his first of the year into the top left corner of the net. The assist was Henrique's first NHL point.