Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made an immediate impact in his debut with the Phoenix Coyotes over the weekend, leading them to a rare win in Los Angeles. The Kings are hoping he won't be nearly as sharp in front of his new home crowd.
Bryzgalov is likely to make his first home appearance at Jobing.com Arena on Wednesday as the teams meet for the second time in five days.
Phoenix (8-10-0) claimed Bryzgalov off waivers from Anaheim on Saturday, and the Coyotes didn't waste any time inserting him into the lineup. Bryzgalov, who made nine appearances for the Ducks this season as Jean-Sebastien Giguere's backup, rewarded his new team for that decision, making 28 saves to beat Los Angeles 1-0 for his third career shutout.
It was his first win since defeating Detroit on Oct. 15.
"I think everybody thought that he could be a No. 1, especially when he had his run in the playoffs two years ago when he was the No. 1 guy on a good team," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.
Bryzgalov helped Anaheim reach the Western Conference finals in 2006, playing in 11 games and posting a 1.46 goals-against average. Saturday's victory improved him to 3-3-1 with a 2.25 GAA and .919 save percentage in 10 appearances - eight starts - this season.
Bryzgalov provided a much-needed boost for the Coyotes after they had been outscored 15-1 in their previous three games, all losses to San Jose.
"Obviously, Anaheim was blessed to have two great goaltenders, and now was his time to get a chance somewhere else," said Doan, who leads the Coyotes with 15 points. "You're always trying to find the best goalie available. So if you can get him, you're better off."
Behind their new goaltender, the Coyotes secured just their third win in the last 10 contests at Los Angeles. They have had much better results against the Kings in Phoenix, winning three straight and seven of the last eight meetings there.
Phoenix, though, hasn't had much home success this season, going 2-7-0 at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes' biggest problem has been lack of offense. Phoenix has the fewest goals in the NHL with 42 and has totaled just two in the last four games after scoring 11 in the previous two contests - both wins.
Doan's power-play goal at 11:24 of the second period Saturday ended the team's goal drought of 202 minutes, 24 seconds over nine periods.
The Coyotes will face a Kings club that has given up 66 goals this season and been outscored 14-6 during a four-game losing streak. Los Angeles fell 3-0 at Dallas on Monday and has suffered back-to-back shutouts for the first time since March 24-26, 2002.
Los Angeles, which dropped a season-high five straight from Sept. 30-Oct. 14, looks to avoid being blanked in three straight games for the first time since Jan. 1-7, 1968. The Kings were shut out three times all of last season.
"It was a one-goal game so we were back in it with one shot," Kings center Anze Kopitar said of Monday's defeat. "But we can't give up two more goals like that and expect to win."
Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera is 1-2-1 with a 3.23 GAA in five games versus Phoenix, with the win coming at Los Angeles on Oct. 6, 2005 in his debut against the Coyotes.
|Mar 27 '08||PHX 0 at LAK 4||K. Dallman|
|Mar 20 '08||LAK 6 at PHX 5 - SO||P. O'Sullivan|
|Feb 18 '08||PHX 4 at LAK 0||E. Jovanovski|
|Feb 16 '08||LAK 3 at PHX 4||R. Vrbata|
|Dec 08 '07||PHX 4 at LAK 2||K. Ballard|
|Dec 05 '07||LAK 1 at PHX 4||R. Vrbata|
|Nov 21 '07||LAK 1 at PHX 4||M. York|
|Nov 17 '07||PHX 1 at LAK 0||S. Doan|