Coyotes get Bryzgalov back to face Ducks
Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 7:00 PM
DUCKS (18-17-4) at COYOTES (16-11-7)
TV: PRIME (HD), FS-A (HD)
Last 10: Anaheim 5-4-1; Phoenix 4-4-2
Season series: Fourth of six meetings this season between these Pacific Division rivals. After the Ducks won the first two matchups, the Coyotes broke through on Dec. 5 with a 3-0 win in Anaheim. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all 26 shots his former team put on him, and Taylor Pyatt, Shane Doan and Lee Stempniak scored goals.
Big story: The Ducks would probably prefer he take another day or two to rest up, but it appears Bryzgalov is ready to go again for the Coyotes. He has three shutouts against Anaheim since he was claimed off waivers by Phoenix early in the 2007-08 season.
"I'm very happy," said Bryzgalov, who missed five games after suffering an upper-body injury Dec. 15 against the Devils. "(For) 10 days I very much didn't do anything and I missed the hockey so much and I missed the team. … It will be a special night to play against your former team. It's nice. I'm very excited."
Ducks: This is the finale of a seven-game road trip for Anaheim, which will then head back to the Honda Center for six straight on home ice. The Ducks can salvage their third win on this long journey by beating the Coyotes. They've dropped their last two, including Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Kings. Matt Beleskey responded to Wayne Simmonds' goal 15 seconds into the middle period by tying the score 32 seconds later, but Los Angeles got three more and chased Jonas Hiller before 40 minutes were completed.
"It's always deflating to see them get three goals in a row," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We fumbled the puck and we should have had someone in position to recover it. They made a shot that nine times out of 10 our goalie would have stopped but he didn't tonight."
Coyotes: Without their No. 1 goaltender, Phoenix did about as well as anyone could have expected, putting up a 2-2-1 record behind backup Jason LaBarbera. He saved his best for last, turning aside all 30 shots by Dallas in a 1-0 win on Sunday. That included Loui Eriksson's second-period penalty shot. Kyle Turris scored at the 10:46 mark of the middle period for the game's only goal.
"Hopefully, we can take this game and go from there," LaBarbera said. "(Bryzgalov) is the No. 1 guy. I do my best to fill the role when I can. I'll go back to my normal job. I felt pretty good about the way I've gone."
Who's hot: Corey Perry has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four games for the Ducks. ... Doan has 3 goals and 6 assists in his last nine games for the Coyotes.
Injury report: Anaheim forward Nick Bonino (bone bruise) is day-to-day, while forward Aaron Voros (broken orbital bone) is on injured reserve. ... Pyatt (upper body) is on injured reserve for Phoenix.
Stat pack: Rookie defenseman Cam Fowler, the No. 12 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft by the Ducks, has 3 goals and 18 points in 33 games, though he also carries a minus-10 rating. ... Veteran defenseman Ed Jovanovski logged 24:20 of ice time and was a plus-1 for the Coyotes in his 1,000th NHL game on Sunday.
Puck drop: Phoenix can leapfrog Anaheim in the standings with a win Tuesday, and Bryzgalov realizes the potential four-point swing is crucial.
"These are going to be crucial games," he said. "If we want to continue to be in a division chase or a playoff race we have to win these games to stay close."