Considering the way Mikael Tellqvist has been playing lately, it's not surprising that Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky is keeping him in the net.
Tellqvist is expected to make his third start in four games on Tuesday, when the Coyotes continue their four-game homestand with a matchup against the Pacific Division rival Los Angeles Kings.
Tellqvist has stopped 95 of 99 shots in his last three games for Phoenix (10-11-2), and is 3-2-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average in six overall appearances.
He led the Coyotes to back-to-back wins on Wednesday and Friday, but took the loss in Saturday's 3-2 decision against visiting San Jose. After Ilya Bryzgalov allowed two goals on the only two shots he faced, Tellqvist replaced him at 5:26 of the first period and turned aside 19 of 20 shots.
Bryzgalov, who entered the season ahead of Tellqvist on the depth chart, is 7-9-1 in 18 games overall and is 0-4-1 with a 3.51 GAA in his last six starts.
"Bryzgalov has just not played at the level we need him to play at," Gretzky said after the defeat. "He's better than the way he's performed."
Though Bryzgalov has yielded just seven goals on 135 shots and has compiled a .948 save percentage in winning five straight starts versus Los Angeles, Gretzky told the Coyotes' official Web site that Tellqvist would start Tuesday.
"It's always nice when the coach believes in you and your teammates," said Tellqvist, who is 2-1-2 with a tie and a 2.89 GAA in six career games against the Kings, losing his last two matchups."Hopefully, I can have a good game tomorrow and get a win."
Phoenix is 15-7-2 versus Los Angeles (10-10-3) since the start of 2005-06, but lost the final two matchups in last season's series after winning the first six.
The Kings may have their own goaltending controversy as Jason LaBarbera and Erik Ersberg have alternated starts in the last four games.
On Monday, LaBarbera finished with 25 saves, but also gave up a pair of early third-period power-play goals in a 3-1 loss to visiting Toronto. Los Angeles has allowed opponents to convert 23.5 percent (12-for-51) of its man-advantage chances in the last 11 games.
"We played well, we just didn't do enough. We found a way to lose (Monday night) instead of finding a way to win," said LaBarbera, whose team dropped to 3-4-1 following its season-high four-game winning streak from Nov. 6-13.
Since LaBarbera is 0-5-1 with a 3.75 GAA in his last seven games versus the Kings, coach Terry Murray may continue this goaltending pattern Tuesday.
Ersberg won both of his career appearances against the Coyotes last season, allowing five goals while compiling a .936 save percentage in those outings.
Alexander Frolov - second on the Kings with 16 points - scored his team-leading ninth goal Monday, and has tallied four times and provided an assist in his last five games. In 32 career contests versus the Coyotes, the winger has 14 goals and 27 points - the highest totals he has against any team he's faced.
Tellqvist has posted a 1.54 GAA and a .952 save percentage in four games at home, where the Coyotes are 6-4-1 after splitting the first two contests on their four-game homestand.
Captain Shane Doan leads the Coyotes with 11 goals and 22 points, and has 20 goals and 53 points - the most he has versus any opponent - in 64 all-time games versus the Kings.