GLENDALE, Ariz. – Ilya Bryzgalov gave the Phoenix Coyotes two more standings points.
The star goalie made 39 saves for his sixth shutout of the season and 22nd overall in the Coyotes’ 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Phoenix moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with Calgary and Chicago, winning for the first time in regulation since beating Nashville 3-2 on Feb. 19.
Bryzgalov was particularly effective in the second period when he stopped 19 shots.
“When you get shot after shot, it really keeps you in the game, and ready,” Bryzgalov said. “Plus, guys were blocking shots when they needed, and the defence just played well.”
Rookie Brett MacLean scored in the second period, Eric Belanger added a goal in the third, and captain Shane Doan had an empty-netter with 1:56 remaining.
Bryzgalov received a great deal of help from defence. Effective in letting Bryzgalov see the first shot, the defence constantly kept the crease clear and swept away rebounds.
“We have not had many two-goal games recently, so we knew we had to tighten up,” defenceman Adrian Aucoin said. “Bryz really stepped up, and the win goes to him.”
The Flames lost for only the second time in 12 games.
While shots were limited in the first period, the Flames opened play through the balance of the game. Bryzgalov remained strong, and kept Calgary off the scoreboard for the first time since a 6-0 home loss to Minnesota on Jan. 19.
“I thought we could have played more physical,” Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. “Bryzgalov, though, was strong. We saw everything, and was the difference.”
The Coyotes struggled on two power-play opportunities in the first period. Given the man advantage on minors to Mark Giordano and Olli Jokinen, Phoenix could not manage a shot on Henrik Karlsson during either chance. Coming into the game, the Coyotes had a 16.4-per cent success rate on the power play, tied for 22nd in the NHL.
The Coyotes, though, struck first.
MacLean, crashing the net on the off-wing, converted a pass from Mikkel Boedker into his second of the season just 1:51 into the second period.
In the period, the Flames peppered Bryzgalov, failed to score. Jokinen hit the post, and Bryzgalov made strong saves on Tim Jackman and Alex Tanguay, the latter on a power play in the final seconds of the period.
“We have to move past this one, and get ready for Vancouver (this Saturday),” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. “We did not have enough around the net to get second and third opportunities. Right now, every game is a challenge because so many teams are battling for playoff spots.”
NOTES: Referee Dean Morton was struck in the head with puck early in the final period, went to the Phoenix locker room for repairs and returned 2 minutes later. … MacLean’s other goal came against the Kings on Dec. 29. … Belanger’s goal have him four points in his last two games. … Doan picked up a goal in his second straight game, and now is tied for the team lead (16) with Radim Vrbata, Taylor Pyatt and Martin Hanzal. … After scoring in four straight games, Iginla has been stopped in his last two.