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Coyotes Streaking Down Stretch Thanks to Bryzgalov

Saturday, 03.26.2011 / 9:27 AM MT / Features
By Jerry Brown | Correspondent
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Coyotes Streaking Down Stretch Thanks to Bryzgalov
GLENDALE – The Coyotes would like to do a little interior decorating at Arena -- and hanging the first division title banner in franchise history from the rafters would be a perfect first touch.

Ilya Bryzgalov
A 3-0 shutout of Columbus on Thursday gave the Coyotes an 8-1-1 record over the last 10 games and a 15-5-2 record since Feb. 5 – when another shutout, a 1-0 blanking of the Wild in Minnesota, sent the Coyotes on a furious stretch run for the second straight year.

Sitting fourth in the Western Conference but still a ways from clinching a playoff berth in this wild race, the Coyotes suddenly have a bolder idea – catching the first-place Sharks. San Jose leads the Pacific Division with 95 points, just two ahead of Phoenix, and the rivals have three head-to-head games during the final two weeks of the season. The first meeting comes here Saturday.

"It's been an interesting year and to be down to the last few games and have an opportunity to decide what's going to happen … it's great for us," captain Shane Doan said. "San Jose has a great team and we're gonna have to be good. We'll count on our big fella a lot and try to find a way."

The "big fella" is goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who picked the perfect time to regain the form that made him a Vezina Trophy candidate last season. Phoenix has been beset by injuries and their play as been inconsistent – but Bryzgalov has been there to keep the Coyotes pointed forward...

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