Colorado at Phoenix

Coyotes' Bryzgalov stops 25, blanks Avalanche


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Coming off back-to-back embarrassing losses that included 11 consecutive goals against, the Phoenix Coyotes needed goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to play better and to play better in front of him.

Check and check.

Phoenix squeezed its defensive end again and Bryzgalov made the big saves for his second successive shutout, lifting the Coyotes to a 3-0 victory against the struggling Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

"It's been a little bit of both," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Bryz has been solid and when he's had to make big saves, he has, but we've been more committed in front of him, playing stronger defense."

Bryzgalov was superb last season in leading the Coyotes to the playoffs, but had been sporadic this year, allowing four or more goals five times in a seven-game span.

Helped by a defense that had again cinched in around him, Bryzgalov had 25 saves in a 1-0 victory against Minnesota on Saturday and backed that up with another sterling performance, turning away 26 shots to give Phoenix successive shutouts for the first time since Brian Boucher set the modern-day NHL record with five straight in 2003-04.

Bryzgalov, who had three consecutive playoff shutouts with Anaheim in 2006, became the first Coyotes goalie to post shutouts in back-to-back starts since Curtis Joseph did it with a game off in between in 2006-07.

Radim Vrbata had two goals and Scottie Upshall chipped in the other, giving Bryzgalov plenty of cushion to notch his fifth shutout this season and 21st of his career.

"Right now, the way we are playing, a team has to earn it, make plays to score a goal, not give them a goal," Bryzgalov said. "When you take care of your net like we took care of ours the last two games, you increase your chances to win games."

Colorado is hoping the addition of former league MVP Peter Forsberg will help its chances after losing in back-to-back shutouts.

The 37-year-old signed on for the rest of the season on Sunday, giving Colorado one of the best two-way players in the league during his heyday. He traveled with the team to the desert and went through the morning skate, but didn't play due to immigration issues.

Forsberg could be cleared to play as early as Wednesday against Minnesota, but the Avs could have used him -- or at least the previous incarnation of him -- against the Coyotes after All-Stars Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene failed to take a single shot between them.

"I really don't understand and I don't think anyone knows what's going on right now," said Duchene, who has two points in 10 games. "We get chances and they're just not going in for us right now. It's very discouraging."

Colorado got a couple of good chances early, including one that clanged off the post, but didn't do much after that, managing six shots on goal in the first period and only a couple more until midway through the second.

After coming up empty on two power plays within a two-minute span of the second period, the Avalanche picked up the offensive pressure in the third and still couldn't score. Colorado sent 12 shots at Bryzgalov in the third period without success and failed on three more power plays to lose its fourth straight.

"We're not creating anything offensively," Avs right wing Chris Stewart said. "You just have to keep it simple and we're not scoring those ugly goals."

Phoenix was coming off one of its best and perhaps biggest victories of the season.

Mired in a two-week funk sprinkled with occasionally -- and uncharacteristically -- uninspired effort, the Coyotes were superb at both ends in the 1-0 victory against Minnesota that ended a five-game home losing streak.

The Coyotes picked up where they left off, hounding the Avs in their zone while creating plenty of good chances at the other end.

Ray Whitney set up the first goal with hard work, stripping a puck from behind in Colorado's zone and feeding it to Martin Hanzal, who crossed it to Vrbata for a one-timer and his 12th goal.

Upshall made it 2-0 with just over two minutes left in the second, flipping in a shot past Craig Anderson after Kyle Turris' shot hit a skate out front.

Vrbata closed it out on a power play midway through the third, punching in a rebound for his 13th goal of the season and a second successive decisive victory for the Coyotes after what seemed like two debilitating losses.

"We talked the other night about taking steps forward, doing the things we think we have to do to be successful, and it was good to see we carried on a lot of those things tonight," Tippett said.


  • Coyotes D Ed Jovanovski missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury.
  • Colorado C Ryan O'Reilly returned on his 20th birthday after missing nearly a month with a shoulder injury.
  • Avalanche D John-Michael Liles played in his 500th career game.
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The Coyotes' Ilya Bryzgalov makes one of his 25 saves against the Colorado Avalanche. (AP)
The Coyotes' Ilya Bryzgalov makes one of his 25 saves against the Colorado Avalanche. (AP)
Colorado (25-22-6)0000
Phoenix  (27-19-9) «1113
Three Stars
I. Bryzgalov

Saves: 26
Save Pct.: 1.000
R. Vrbata

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
A. Aucoin

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
03:07 - Radim Vrbata (12), Slap Shot. Assist: Hanzal, Whitney
17:44 - Scottie Upshall (16), Tip-In. Assist: Turris, Doan
09:18Power Play - Radim Vrbata (13), Tip-In. Assist: Pyatt, Whitney
Penalty Summary
18:20McLeod, 2 min, Roughing
10:20Shattenkirk, 2 min, High-Sticking
10:52Yandle, 2 min, Interference
14:06Lepisto, 2 min, Interference
05:37Vrbata, 2 min, Hooking
07:30Hanzal, 2 min, Slashing
07:30Liles, 2 min, Slashing
08:33O'Byrne, 2 min, Hooking
11:17Ekman-Larsson, 2 min, Holding the Stick
17:05McLeod, 5 min, Fighting
17:05Morris, 5 min, Fighting
17:05McLeod, 2 min, Roughing
17:05Yandle, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Craig Anderson59:59233
Ilya Bryzgalov59:38260
Game Information
Attendance - 9508
Referees - Tom Kowal, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Darren Gibbs, Thor Nelson
Other Games
NYR 2 Final
Det 3
Atl 4 Final
Tor 5
Edm 4 Final
Nash 0
Chi 1 Final
Cal 3
Ott 2 Final
Van 4