By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett is starting to feel as if he’s repeating himself at his post-game press conferences after victories inside Jobing.com Arena.
"'Bryzzie' was good and we got a couple goals. Thanks,’” Tippett joked to reporters on Saturday night, a few minutes after Phoenix beat the San Jose Sharks, 2-1. "i could just send a tape recorder in here."
“Bryzzie,” of course, is the nickname of Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who on Saturday stopped a season-high 37 shots in his 12th consecutive start. It was another outstanding performance for the Russian netminder, whose stingy play allows the Coyotes (19-11-2) to win games despite scoring just a few goals.
"'Bryzzie' was excellent," Tippett said. "In the third period, there was a couple of great chances, and he managed to close the door, and that's how he's played all year. He's given us a chance when there's a breakdown. He's cleaned up a lot of messes for us."
San Jose (19-8-7) played a gritty, 11-round shootout against Dallas on Friday night, so Tippett was hoping the Coyotes could get an early lead against them and then hang on for a victory. After a scoreless first period, that’s exactly what happened.
Radim Vrbata and Robert Lang netted goals for Phoenix 1:35 apart early in the second period to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead.
Vrbata scored his goal with 36 seconds left on a power play by redirecting a shot from the left point by Keith Yandle past Sharks backup goalie Thomas Greiss at 3:40. Lang netted his goal from between the circles moments after he won a draw in the San Jose zone. Taylor Pyatt set up Lang perfectly with a crisp pass from the left corner and Lang banged the puck off the right post and into the net at 5:15.
The Sharks, who entered the game with 110 goals in their first 33 games, scored their only one with 5:21 left in the third period on a power play. Dany Heatley, who did not play with his usual linemates Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, beat Bryzgalov with a slap shot from the top of the left circle, but the Coyotes didn’t buckle and posted their sixth win in the past seven games, and their sixth consecutive win on home ice.
“We always have a hard time playing here, for whatever reason,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “And they played us really hard.”
Trailing 2-0, the Sharks cranked up their offensive intensity in the third period and registered 18 shots on goal. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all but one of them. His most impressive save came at 5:11 when he denied a tricky, point-blank shot by Sharks center Joe Pavelski from the top of the crease.
• Phoenix again played minus defenseman/alternate captain Ed Jovanovski, who was suspended for two games by the NHL after hitting Minnesota's Andrew Ebbett in the head during Monday's 2-0 win. Jovanovski can return to the lineup on Monday at Detroit.
• The Coyotes drew eight penalties but scored just one power-play goal. That makes them 2 for their past 28 chances with a man advantage.
• Phoenix has won six straight home games. The franchise record for consecutive home victories is nine, which the team has accomplished twice (in 1992-93 and 1999-2000). The Coyotes play their next four games on the road before returning to Glendale to play Columbus on Dec. 21.
• The Coyotes are 8-3-1 vs. teams from the Pacific Division.
• Defenseman Zbynek Michalek quietly played an excellent game. He logged a team-high 27:30 of ice time, took four shots, made four hits, blocked five shots and assisted on Radim Vrbata's goal.
• Phoenix scratched Paul Bissonnette. San Jose scratched Jay Leach and Brad Staubitz.
"We played well. The first two periods I think we dominated and the third period I think we sat back and just held the score... You have to give them credit. They played really hard and created some chances."
"We knew they played last night and we wanted to jump on them, and we were able to in the second and score two goals. Thanks to Bryz, we were able to hang on."
"When it rains it pours. We’re just trying to play hard and find that type of work ethic right now. Maybe we’re just getting a bit overzealous in the puck battles. I think we’re trying to shore things up across the board. We just haven’t had the results we’ve wanted."