GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Ilya Bryzgalov finally solved the St. Louis Blues.
Bryzgalov stopped 35 shots for his second shutout of the season and fourth of his career, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Blues 2-0 Sunday night.
He entered the game 0-2-0 with a 6.91 goals-agaianst average against the Blues.
"You have to be ready, not as soon as you stop the first puck but you have to be ready as soon as to puck is dropped," Bryzgalov said. "It's nice when you get the lead in a game like that. Games like this were there is very little goal scoring, every goal may be the last goal."
Zbynek Michalek and Joel Perrault scored to help the Coyotes move within three points of Nashville for the Western Conference's final playoff spot. Phoenix is in 10th place, one point behind Colorado.
The Coyotes have 31 wins, one more than they had all of last season.
"We're right there, right in the race," Perrault said. "We know what we have to do and how many games we have to win to get in the playoffs."
Manny Legace made 18 saves for the Blues, who have lost three straight overall and eight of nine against Phoenix.
Legace has lost six straight against Phoenix.
St. Louis finished 0-2-1 on its three-game road trip with two goals scored.
"We're lucky to get one point doing that," Legace said. "It's as simple as that. You're not going to win hockey games if you're not scoring goals."
Aided by three St. Louis power plays, the Blues had 18 shots in the first period. But Bryzgalov only faced 17 over the final two.
|St. Louis Blues goalie Manny Legace, front, kept the game close for his team by making 18 saves on 20 shots against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Roy Dabner)|
"It was one of the best games I've seen him play, and he's played some good ones here," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said.
Michalek gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead on his first goal since Jan. 24, a blast from between the circles at 4:27 of the second period.
Perrault gave the Coyotes some breathing room with 7:57 remaining. Legace stopped Keith Ballard's shot from the high slot but couldn't control the long rebound. Perrault pounced on the puck in the low slot and bounced a wrist shot off Legace's left leg to make it 2-0.
The Blues' best scoring chance came in the final minute with St. Louis on the power play, Legace on the bench in favor of an extra attacker and Bryzgalov without his stick for more than 20 seconds. But St. Louis managed just one shot on goal.
St. Louis finished 0-for-6 with the extra man.
"We needed the power play to step up and it didn't come through," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "It's been a bit of a characteristic of our team, the inability to score with the number of opportunities we get."
Notes: Bryzgalov's last shutout was Nov. 17 in his Coyotes debut, a 1-0 victory in Los Angeles. ... Bryzgalov was making his first start of the season against St. Louis. Mikael Tellqvist had started Phoenix's prior two games against the Blues, both coming before the Coyotes claimed Bryzgalov off waivers. ... St. Louis outshot Phoenix 26-9 in the first and third periods.
|Zbynek Michalek (3) ASST: Radim Vrbata (24), Steve Reinprecht (27)|
1 - 0 PHX
|Joel Perrault (7) ASST: Keith Ballard (11), Steve Reinprecht (28)|
2 - 0 PHX
|David Perron Roughing against Keith Yandle|
|Keith Yandle Interference against David Backes|
|Nick Boynton Roughing against Andy McDonald|
|Mathias Tjarnqvist Hi stick - double minor against Keith Tkachuk|
|Martin Rucinsky Holding against Joel Perrault|
|Daniel Carcillo Holding against Christian Backman|
|Paul Kariya Hi-sticking against Nick Boynton|
|Keith Yandle Hooking against Jay McClement|
|David Perron Closing hand on puck|
|Steve Reinprecht Hooking against Barret Jackman|
|Paul Kariya Hi-sticking against Derek Morris|
|Erik Johnson Tripping against Martin Hanzal|
|Joel Perrault Slashing against Christian Backman|