NEWARK, N.J. — Phoenix captain Shane Doan started laughing when asked if the Coyotes suddenly had a goalie controversy.
“Goalie controversies are always good because that means they are both playing well,” Doan said after the Coyotes defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night to improve their playoff chances in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes, who currently hold the second wild-card spot, got five of six possible points on their three-game road trip and opened a five-point lead over idle Dallas.
What made this trip so special was that No. 1 goalie Mike Smith went down with a lower-body injury late in the third period of the opener against the Rangers, but replacement Thomas Greiss posted wins over Pittsburgh and New Jersey.
Phoenix’s only loss on the road trip was in overtime to the Rangers.
“We have a ton of confidence in Greisser,” Doan said. “Everybody in here has been shooting on him all year and when he has gone in, he has been amazing. I don’t know what his save percentage is, but it’s .925 or .930. He has been amazing for us.”
Greiss made 26 saves and stopped shootout attempts by Damien Brunner, Ryane Clowe and Patrik Elias in matching his career high with his ninth win (9-5-2) of the season.
Bruins 3, Blackhawks 0: In Boston, Patrice Bergeron scored two goals, and the Bruins beat defending champion Chicago in the first meeting between the teams in Boston since the deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals.
Bergeron scored his first goal at 11:50 of the first period, and the Bruins broke the game open with goals by Carl Soderberg and Bergeron in a 13-second span early in the third.
Blues 5, Wild 1: In St. Louis, T.J. Oshie scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick, and Ryan Miller made 27 saves to lead St. Louis’ rout of Minnesota.
St. Louis has won three in a row overall and nine straight against the Wild. The Blues lead the NHL with 107 points.
Kings 3, Penguins 2: In Pittsburgh, Drew Doughty scored early in the third period to give Los Angeles the lead for good, and the Kings beat Pittsburgh for their franchise-record tying eighth straight road win.
Canadiens 5, Red Wings 4: In Detroit, Max Pacioretty broke a third-period tie, Tomas Plekanec scored twice, and Montreal won.
Hurricanes 3, Panthers 0: In Sunrise, Fla., Jiri Tlusty scored twice and Anton Khudobin stopped 35 shots to lead Carolina over Florida.
Lightning 3, Islanders 2, SO: In Tampa, Fla., Sami Salo scored in the 13th round of a shootout to lift Tampa Bay past the Islanders.
Predators 6, Sabres 1: In Nashville, Tenn., Shea Weber scored twice to pace Nashville’s rout of Buffalo that ended a six-game losing streak at home.
Avalanche 3, Canucks 2: In Denver, Tyson Barrie scored 55 seconds into overtime, Semyon Varlamov stopped 29 shots, and Colorado moved a step closer to their first playoff berth in four years.
Jets 4, Sharks 3: In San Jose, Calif., Tobias Enstrom scored a power-play goal with 3:36 remaining in the third period to help the Jets win.