ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ilya Bryzgalov played a supporting role in Anaheim behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere for four full seasons, waiting for the chance to show he could be the main man—for them or another club.
Now he’s filling that role for the Phoenix Coyotes.
Bryzgalov shut out his former team for the third time, Taylor Pyatt scored on a deflection, and Shane Doan connected during a power play to lead the Coyotes to a 3-0 victory on Sunday night.
Bryzgalov made 39 saves for his second shutout of the season and 18th in the NHL. He is 10-7-2 with a 2.66 goals-against average against the Ducks, who waived him during the 2007-08 season before he was claimed by the Coyotes.
“I always felt that I was capable of being a No. 1 goalie, and here I got an opportunity to prove myself,” said Bryzgalov, who won a Stanley Cup title with the Ducks in 2007. “That team will always been with me in my heart because I spent seven years in that organization, and you can’t throw that away. But right now my home is with the Phoenix Coyotes.”
Lee Stempniak, playing in his 400th NHL regular-season game, scored into an empty net with 2:56 remaining. It was the Coyotes’ first win this season over Anaheim after 3-2 and 6-4 losses.
“We didn’t think we played too bad in those games, but they found ways to win them,” Doan said. “We didn’t want to let up or take our foot off the gas, because we’d seen what they’d done to us before and we had to be mentally ready for the whole game.”
The Ducks, who recorded 41 shots in a 4-0 loss to Detroit on Friday, were shut out in consecutive games for the first time since March 2008. It was the first time they were blanked in back-to-back home games since October 2003.
“We were very flat. We didn’t have the emotional level we needed, and that led to frustration,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “It seemed that everywhere we turned there was a white sweater there. They’ve got a solid lineup and they’ve got that workmanlike attitude.
“We feel like we can compete with them, but we can’t compete playing at the level we played. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. They’re hockey players that are paid to work and do their job, and we have to find a different way to stimulate them—whether it’s a kick in the pants, a pat on the back or a day off.”
The 80 shots in two games without a goal is just an extension of the Ducks’ collective frustration in recent weeks. Earlier this month, they had 90 in a two-game stretch, but lost 4-3 to Columbus and 4-2 to Edmonton.
“I think we’re just swinging away,” Carlyle said. “In the last two games, the other goaltender had an easier night than he should have, considering the number of shots we directed toward the net.”
Teemu Selanne was scratched from Anaheim’s lineup for the fifth time in seven games because of a groin pull. Joffrey Lupul, who hadn’t played in an NHL game since Dec. 8, 2009, because of back surgery and a subsequent blood infection, made his season debut on Selanne’s line with Saku Koivu and Jason Blake for the opening faceoff.
“I was definitely excited. It’s been a long time,” Lupul said. “I was pretty pumped up. During the anthem and everything, I was ready to go. But once the game started, it was just kind of business as usual. I’m happy to get this first game out of the way. It’s been a long road.”
Pyatt opened the scoring 10:59 in, redirecting Sami Lepisto’s one-timer from the right point through Jonas Hiller’s legs. Andy Sutton was off for slashing Scottie Upshall when Hiller stopped defenceman Keith Yandle’s one-timer, but Doan converted the rebound at 17:23 of the second.
NOTES: Lupul scored in his three previous games with the Ducks last December after missing seven straight because of back spasms that led to the operation. … Doan has 27 career goals against Anaheim, matching his total against Dallas for the most the Coyotes’ captain has scored against any team. Hiller stopped him on a breakaway with 5:43 remaining. … The Ducks are 1-4 without Selanne. They were 12-12-4 last season when he didn’t play and 27-20-7 when he did. … Ducks D Cam Fowler, who scored his first NHL goal against the Coyotes on Oct. 17 and broke his nose in that game when he collided with Doan, turned 19. Fowler was 10 months old when Selanne made his NHL debut with Winnipeg.