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Making NHL Debut Thrilled Summers

by Anthony Perez / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE -- Coyotes defenseman Chris Summers, who made his NHL debut on Thursday night at Los Angeles, on Friday spoke about how it felt to play with and against the world's elite players for the thirst time.

“When coach (Dave Tippett) came up to me and said ‘Hey, we’re going to dress seven defensemen tonight and we want you to play’ my heart just skipped a beat,” said Summers, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Jan. 18. “…I got really excited and I tried to make the best of it and enjoy the experience.”

Summers first got word that he was going to be in the lineup after Thursday’s morning skate. He said he felt more excited than nervous. His approach was a simple one.

“It’s the same game, a little bit different level obviously, but you try to play your game and just do the things that got you there,” Summers said.

With his first NHL game behind him, Summers, who was recalled because of injuries to Ed Jovanovski and David Schlemko, is hoping to stick around a little longer and help the Coyotes in any way he can.

“It’s very exciting to be part of an NHL club and to have a chance to contribute to that NHL club is pretty amazing,” Summers said. “I’m enjoying the experience and whenever they need me and whatever they need me for is what I’m here for.”

• Tippett said Jovanovski is close to returning to the lineup. So close, in fact, that he would be a game-time decision on Saturday night.

After allowing nine goals against San Jose and Nashville, the Coyotes tightened up defensively and held the Kings scoreless on Thursday.

Defenseman Michal Rozsival has stepped in and provided some veteran-like stability along the blue line.

Rozsival, who has played two games in a Coyotes sweater following his Jan. 10 trade from the New York Rangers, is becoming more comfortable playing in the team’s “defense-first” system.

“I think it's going fine,” Rozsival said. “It has only been a couple of games, but I’m already feeling better, more comfortable with the system and the structure of how this team is playing. I feel good, I feel more comfortable."

Not only did goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov post his third shutout of the season on Thursday night, but he continued his mastery over the Kings, stopping all 36 shots he faced en route to his second career shutout against Los Angeles.

The Coyotes are 3-0-0 against LA this season, thanks in large part to Bryzgalov. He stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced on Oct. 21 in Phoenix's 4-2 win over LA, and he also picked up a victory against them after stopping 23 shots on Dec. 29.

For his career, Bryzgalov is 14-4-2 vs. the Kings.
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