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Bryzgalov stops 25 shots in Coyotes' 5-1 victory over Maple Leafs

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Ilya Bryzgalov has fit in perfectly in goal for coach Wayne Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes.

Bryzgalov made 25 saves for his fourth straight victory since joining Phoenix after being claimed off waivers from Anaheim, leading the Coyotes to a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

"He is truly one of the pieces of this puzzle," Gretzky said. "He's helped us turn this team around, and maybe our franchise. It's only four games and we have a long way to go. It's a nice start for him."

Bryzgalov has allowed only six goals in Phoenix's four-game winning streak, its longest since a seven-game run last Dec. 26-Jan. 9.

"Our players feel pretty good right now," Gretzky said. "Sure, we've won four in a row. The last time I've checked, however, that doesn't win you too many rings."

Toronto has lost four of its last five.

"Right now, this team is in a funk, and good teams found ways to get out of situations like this," Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "Teams find out what it takes to win, and that's what faces us.

"No, we have not hit rock bottom, and have 60 games left to turn this thing around."

The Coyotes scored four goals in the first period, two in an 18-second span.

Daniel Winnik opened the scoring at 4:16, and Peter Mueller then beat Andrew Raycroft to the short side at 8:24. At that point, Toronto coach Paul Maurice pulled Raycroft for Vesa Toskala.

"I didn't like that first goal and made the change," Maurice said. "But that was not the story. We didn't move our feet, and that's a big part of the game."

Toskala allowed a goal on the first shot he faced, with Steven Reinprecht firing a wrist shot under the crossbar and over the goalie's glove hand at 8:42.

Kyle Wellwood countered for Toronto, but Derek Morris made it 4-1 with 1:57 left.

"We're not playing the way we are capable," Toronto forward Darcy Tucker said. "If everyone works hard, we can turn this around. Our responsibility is to be accountable, and we all know what needs to be done."

Radim Vrbata completed the scoring at 2:05 of the second period. With a goal and an assist, Vrbata has five points in the past two games.

"Sometimes, you have to be lucky and be in the right spot at the right time," Vrbata said. "Before these two games, I didn't think I had a point in six. Now, I'm hot and the puck has found me."

Notes: Toronto's Jason Blake has failed to score in 16 straight games. His assist on the Leafs' lone goal was his first point since an assist Nov. 2 at New Jersey. ... The Coyotes will play 10 of their next 12 on the road, including a six-game road trip. ... The announced crowd of 17,190 was the Coyotes' second largest of the season.


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