The Phoenix Coyotes have been the NHL’s stingiest team during their surprising start, but the Los Angeles Kings are one of the few clubs that has found ways to score against Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov(notes).
After splitting their first two meetings, the Pacific Division rivals face off for a third time Monday night at Jobing.com Arena with the Coyotes looking for a fourth straight win overall.
Thanks in large part to Bryzgalov, Phoenix (9-4-0) leads the league with a 1.92 goals-against average. The Coyotes have allowed three goals during their three-game winning streak, the latest victory coming Saturday when Bryzgalov stopped 32 shots and all three shootout attempts in a 3-2 win over Anaheim.
Strong team defense helped Phoenix kill six of Anaheim’s seven power plays, all in the first two periods. The Ducks’ only goal with the man advantage came at the end of a lengthy 5-on-3.
“We had some guys do some yeoman’s work out there, blocking shots and just finding ways to get in front of things,” coach Dave Tippett said. “And our goalie did a good job too.”
Even though the crowds at Jobing.com Arena have been sparse, with a season-low 6,495 attending Saturday’s game, the Kings are the only one of Phoenix’s six visitors to score more than two goals. Los Angeles beat the Coyotes 5-3 in Glendale on Oct. 24.
Combined with Phoenix’s 6-3 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 3, Bryzgalov has a 3.51 GAA against the Kings this season, compared with a 1.38 mark against other opponents. Six of Los Angeles’ goals against the Coyotes have come on the power play.
The Kings have been quiet offensively in the last two games, however, losing 2-1 in shootouts to San Jose and Vancouver.
“It’s the same feeling after two games - bad feeling,” coach Terry Murray said.
“You got to take away the positives,” Quick told the team’s official Web site after the loss to the Canucks on Thursday. “The team’s playing great and we took (San Jose and Vancouver) into a shootout. Unfortunately we ended up on the short end of the stick there, so you just got to keep pushing, keep doing what you’re doing.”
Both clubs are trying to establish themselves in the division race even though neither has reached the postseason since 2002. The Sharks are in first place, but the Kings and Coyotes are in the top five in the Western Conference.
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