The Phoenix Coyotes have certainly been a much improved team since acquiring goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. No team knows that better than the Los Angeles Kings.
Bryzgalov looks to lead the Coyotes look to their fourth win in as many games this season against their Pacific Division rivals on Saturday night when the teams meet at Staples Center.
Only a few hours after he was picked up on waivers from Anaheim, Bryzgalov stopped 28 shots in the Coyotes' 1-0 victory at Los Angeles on Nov. 17.
Bryzgalov beat the Kings again four days later, making 28 saves in a 4-1 home victory. He then helped put an end to Phoenix's season-high four-game losing streak on Wednesday, turning aside 28 of 29 shots in another 4-1 win over Los Angeles.
Bryzgalov, who lost his first start this season against the Kings while with Anaheim, is 5-2-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average in nine career starts versus them.
Phoenix (12-15-0) will be happy to see any team other than San Jose after losing to the Sharks for the fourth time in four meetings this season, 1-0 on Friday.
"A tough loss to swallow," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said, "because we played hard."
Bryzgalov was very good again, making 25 saves two nights after beating the Kings.
"Give him (Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov) credit, he played a great game for them," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "Our goaltender was phenomenal. You hate to waste an effort like that from him."
The Coyotes have been outscored 16-1 against the Sharks, going nearly 231 minutes without scoring on Nabokov.
A weak offense continues to plague the Coyotes, whose 64 goals scored are better than only the New York Islanders (60).
Phoenix has scored two goals or fewer in nine of its last 13 games, but has eight total goals in its last two meetings with Los Angeles.
The Kings (11-15-1) should be feeling better about themselves after they snapped a three-game skid with an 8-2 rout of visiting Buffalo on Thursday.
Dustin Brown had two goals and an assist, Tom Preissing scored twice and Anze Kopitar had a career-high four assists for Los Angeles, which hadn't scored more than three goals in any of its previous 11 games.
"I felt really good tonight. And with the big start that we had, it makes it a lot easier to get your confidence back and to make plays that you usually wouldn't," Kopitar said.
Jonathan Quick benefited from the Kings' rare offensive outburst, stopping 15 shots to win his NHL debut.
Quick, pressed into service because of injuries to Jason LaBarbera and Jean-Sebastien Aubin, is the ninth goalie the Kings have used since the start of last season. The list includes LaBarbera, Aubin, Jonathan Bernier, Mathieu Garon, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji and Barry Brust.
"It was just good timing that I happened to get in tonight," Quick said. "It was a lot easier with the support the team gave me and the way they played in front of me. It was a good game for me to start off my career with. It was a lot of fun."
Kopitar has four goals and seven assists in his last seven games.