CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Game after game, Ilya Bryzgalov is proving to be an impressive addition for the Phoenix Coyotes.
Since joining the Coyotes from the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 17 after being claimed off waivers, Bryzgalov is 13-8-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and a superb .930 save percentage.
"I've found a home here," Bryzgalov said. "This is my best year in the NHL. I feel the trust, I believe in the guys and they believe in me."
Stuck as the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere in Anaheim, Bryzgalov has been thrust into the spotlight in Phoenix. He has started 22 of the 24 games since he joined them.
"We have a lot of respect for Bryzgalov and he came from a great organization and won a Stanley Cup," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He played with a guy in Giguere, who was one of the best goaltenders in hockey. It's a nice start for him and a good opportunity to be the head dog and he's really taking a liking to it and I know the players enjoy him being in net."
Daniel Winnik, Joel Perrault and Keith Yandle each scored in the second period as the Coyotes won in Gretzky's 200th game as an NHL coach. Gretzky improved to 89-100-11, all with Phoenix.
|Ilya Bryzgalov scrambles for the puck as Kristian Huselius digs for a rebound during the third period. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)|
"We have a great young team," Bryzgalov said. "We've started winning games and we have a great future if we keep working hard and believe in ourselves."
Alex Tanguay scored the lone goal late in the third period for Calgary, which lost in regulation for just the second time in eight games and had its five-game unbeaten run end.
"This is a big eye-opener," Calgary's Craig Conroy said. "We've got to work harder, we've got to get more aggressive and forecheck. We missed some chances, but (Bryzgalov) played well, you can't take anything away from him."
Scoreless after the first period, Phoenix seized control in the second period, scoring three straight goals and outshooting the Flames 18-8.
"The exceptional teams find a way to get energized night after night," Flames coach Mike Keenan said. "And I'm talking about the exceptional teams and there is only one in the league right now and that's the Detroit Red Wings."
Winnik opened the scoring at 3:30 when Niko Kapanen cut across the slot and neatly slid a pass back in the opposite direction to the Coyotes rookie. Winnik one-timed a low shot past Miikka Kiprusoff for his fourth goal of the season, and first in 17 games.
The Coyotes made it 2-0 three minutes later. Persistent pressure in the Flames' zone was capped by Perrault's fourth goal after he was set up at the side of the net on a heady cross-ice pass from defenseman Nick Boynton.
That would be all the offense Bryzgalov would need as he started for the 22nd time in 24 games since being claimed off waivers from Anaheim on Nov. 17. Since joining the Coyotes, Bryzgalov is 13-8-1 with a 2.15 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage.
With the Flames trailing 2-0 and desperately looking to generate some momentum, it looked as though they were about to do so after killing off a 63-second two-man advantage. But Phoenix finally capitalized at 9:22 when Yandle's misfired slap shot from the blue-line sailed high into the air and past a surprised Kiprusoff with the Flames still down a man.
Phoenix silenced the Flames' duo of Kristian Huselius and Jarome Iginla, who had entered with a combined 22 points - 13 goals and nine assists - in the past five games.
Tanguay spoiled Bryzgalov's bid for a shutout at 16:08 of the third period, beating the goalie by tipping in Robyn Regehr's slap shot off a faceoff in the Phoenix zone.
"This streak is a good sign, but we can't stop," Bryzgalov said. "We have to keep moving forward because we want to play in the playoffs and there are still several teams ahead of us."
Notes: Phoenix won its sixth straight road game and improved to 14-8-0 on the road, surpassing its win total from a year ago. The Coyotes' franchise record for consecutive road wins is eight, set in April 1985. ... Calgary D Adrian Aucoin (groin) missed his second game in a row.
|Daniel Winnik (4) ASST: Niko Kapanen (12), Craig Weller (4)|
1 - 0 PHX
|Joel Perrault (4) ASST: Nick Boynton (6), Fredrik Sjostrom (7)|
2 - 0 PHX
|PPG - Keith Yandle (2) ASST: Shane Doan (24), Niko Kapanen (13)|
3 - 0 PHX
|PPG - Alex Tanguay (11) ASST: Robyn Regehr (9), Matthew Lombardi (13)|
3 - 1 PHX
|Stephane Yelle Tripping against Daniel Winnik|
|Niko Kapanen Interference against Dion Phaneuf|
|Peter Mueller Hi-sticking against Dustin Boyd|
|Daniel Winnik Elbowing against Owen Nolan|
|Jarome Iginla Tripping against Keith Ballard|
|Craig Conroy Hooking against Peter Mueller|
|Robyn Regehr Hi-sticking against Joel Perrault|
|Martin Hanzal Tripping against Matthew Lombardi|
|Derek Morris Hi-sticking against Kristian Huselius|