By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE --Ilya Bryzgalov notched his second consecutive shutout, and the Coyotes defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 3-0, Monday night at Jobing.com Arena.
The 26-save shutout was Bryzgalov’s fifth of the season. The 30-year-old Russian has stopped all 51 shots he has faced in the past six periods.
Radim Vrbata, who scored twice, gave Phoenix (27-19-9) a 1-0 lead at 3:07 of the first period when his wrist shot beat Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson. While the Coyotes totaled 13 shots on goal in the first period, with some quality scoring chances, they were unable to build on the lead before the first intermission.
Scottie Upshall scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season to put Phoenix ahead 2-0 at the 17:44 mark of the second period after linemate Kyle Turris fed the puck to the front of the net (see KEY MOMENT below).
Not that they ended up needing another goal, but the Coyotes got one after Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne was called for hooking at the 8:33 mark of the third period. Vrbata, who was seeking his first two-goal game since the season opener on Oct. 9 in Prague, got it by knocking in a rebound with 10:42 left in the game.
Derek Morris and Cody McLeod fought in the third period. Photo by Norm Hall.
Tempers flared late in the third period. Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris and Avalanche forward Cody McLeod swapped punches. Both received fighting majors, and McLeod, whom Morris took to the ice, was also charged with a roughing minor.
Since losing to Vancouver 6-0 on home ice last Wednesday, the Coyotes have tightened up defensively. A lengthy players-only meeting before Saturday's 1-0 win over Minnesota has helped right the ship.
“Sometimes it takes a game like Vancouver just to smack you right over the head and then you start to get some things right,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “Our group had to take a step back and reevaluate itself and figure out which direction we wanted to go. The last two games we started heading in that direction.”
Colorado (25-22-6) lost its fourth consecutive game and was shut out for the second game in a row after being blanked only once in the first 51 games.
Leading 1-0 late in the second period, Coyotes captain Shane Doan backhanded a pass to Kyle Turris from the right corner. Avs captain Adam Foote partially blocked Turris' shot from the slot, but Coyotes winger Scottie Upshall was in the right place at the right time, and lifted the loose puck over Avs goalie Craig Anderson and into the net at 17:44.
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had three consecutive shutouts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for Anaheim in 2006, but before Monday he had never posted consecutive shutouts in an NHL regular season. He is now two shutouts shy of tying Nikolai Khabibulin for the franchise's shutout record (21). Before Monday, Curtis Joseph was the last Coyotes goalie to record back-to-back shutouts (in 2006-07).
• The Coyotes upped their record to 10-3-1 vs. teams from the Northwest Division: Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver.
• Monday's victory was the franchise's 499th regular-season victory since it moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg in 1996.
• The Coyotes are 6-0-1 in their past seven games vs. Colorado played at Jobing.com Arena.
• Winger Radim Vrbata led all players with eight shots on goal.
• The Coyotes' next game is Wednesday vs. Dallas at American Airlines Center. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"It's nice (to score two goals). There have been games where I feel I should have scored not just two but maybe more... But I'll take two. I'll take whatever comes... It doesn't matter who scores as long as somebody does."
"We're playing a totally different style – a 1-0 style. We're making the teams earn every shot and every chance. When you take care of your net the way we have the last two games you increase your chances to win."
"I really don't understand it and I don't think anyone knows what's going on right now. It's very discouraging. It's tough to keep our heads up but we have to do it and keep moving forward."
• Jan. 6, 2011: PHX 2, COL 0
• Jan. 26, 2011: PHX 5, COL 2
• Feb. 7, 2011: PHX 3, COL 0 • April 1, 2011:
1 - 0 PHX
2 - 0 PHX
3 - 0 PHX
Holding the stick