GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes have found a perfect combination: Ilya Bryzgalov in goal against the Los Angeles Kings.
Bryzgalov, acquired off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks last Saturday, stopped 28 shots and beat the Kings for the second time in two starts with Phoenix, 4-1 Wednesday night.
Bryzgalov has come in and given the Coyotes a strong measure of stability. Solid in net and flashing an aggressive, animated style, the 27-year-old Russian native is providing Phoenix with an instant dose of competitiveness.
“He has been phenomenal,” captain Shane Doan said. “One goal in two games and that’s huge. When we needed him to make a big save, he has come up big for us.”
Bryzgalov shut out the Kings on Saturday just hours after being picked up by the Coyotes. He also made 28 saves in that one, backstopping a 1-0 victory in Los Angeles.
Making a quick transition to his new team, Bryzgalov gives credit for his early success to a change of scenery.
“I feel very comfortable with this team,” he said. “These guys work hard in practice and hard in a game. Anaheim is in the past, and I’m glad the Coyotes picked me up. This is a great team and with a great future.”
Bryzgalov surrendered the Kings’ only goal in the rematch when Matt Moulson fired a shot in from the left circle at 15:07 of the opening period. That broke Bryzgalov’s shutout streak with the Coyotes at 75 minutes, seven seconds.
“We can’t seem to get a decent shot,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. “Right now, things are really frustrating, and for some reason, we just can’t score against (Bryzgalov).”
That feeling spread throughout the Kings dressing room.
“We’re having a tough time scoring and it’s very frustrating,” goalie Jason LaBarbera said. “We’re not playing that bad, but not playing that well, either.”
Mike York scored twice for Phoenix on his first three shots of the game.
Midway through the opening period, Phoenix grabbed a 1-0 lead. York managed to get his stick on the puck during a goal mouth scramble and got it across the goal line at 9:50.
York netted his fourth of the season at 2:37 of the second period to make it 2-1. During a power play, he converted a shot by Doan off the back dasher boards into the net.
Just over four minutes later, Phoenix increased its lead to 3-1. Trailing in the slot, Niko Kapanen took a pass from Daniel Carcillo and scored his third of the season at 6:46.
Doan finished the scoring with his fifth goal of the season at 10:49 of the third period. In front, Doan waited for LaBarbera to make a move before putting the puck under his glove and into the net.
Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky lauded the effort of his team, and their collective sense of urgency.
“I’m very pleased with the amount of shots we are allowing,” he said. “We used to give up 45 and 50 a night, and now it’s down to 25 to 30. If we can do that and get the kind of goaltending we’re getting, we will be in many hockey games.”
Notes: York tied a career best with his two goals. He has done it 11 times in eight NHL seasons. … Phoenix D Ed Jovanovski had a season-high three assists. He had a pair of two-assist games against Dallas. … The announced crowd of 12,161 was the Coyotes’ second lowest of the season.