By Dave Vest | Anthony Perez GLENDALE -- Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves to lead the Coyotes to a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night in the third game of a six-game homestand at Jobing.com Arena.
Bryzgalov’s shutout was his seventh of the season and his 21st in a Coyotes sweater, tying Nikolai Khabibulin for the franchise lead in shutouts. It was also his 34th victory of the season.
“Bryz was big and solid,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “They threw a lot of pucks from outside and he was big in the net. I thought our defense did a pretty good job around the net. There were a few pucks that were flying there that Bryz was in a great position and found a way to get in front of them.”
With the victory, Phoenix remained in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 93 points. The Coyotes trail Pacific Divison-leading San Jose by two points.
The Coyotes and Sharks play Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena. They will play twice more after that before the regular season ends on April 8.
"To have a chance to decide everything in the final few games is really huge for us," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "They have a great team, and we're going to have to be really good. We had their number for the previous few years and this year they've had ours."
Photo by Getty Images.
Against Columbus on Thursday, the Coyotes took a 1-0 lead at the 3:51 mark of the second period when center Vernon Fiddler fed the puck to defenseman Michal Rozsival in front of the net. Rozsival, playing in his 27th game since coming to the Coyotes in a trade with the New York Rangers, tapped Fiddler's pass past Blue Jackets goaltender Mathieu Garon for his sixth goal of the season. Three of his goals have been for Phoenix.
The Coyotes added to their lead late in the second period when Derek Morris backhanded a rebound past Garon (see KEY MOMENT below).
Not that they needed it with the way Bryzgalov was playing, but the Coyotes tacked on an insurance goal late in the third period. Mikkel Boedker scored it to end an eight-game goal-less drought.
Leading 1-0, Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris scored a nifty backhanded goal to cap a three-on-one rush with just 1:16 left in the second period.
• The Coyotes' next game is Saturday vs. San Jose at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on KFYI 550 (AM).
"It's more difficult to play in a game like this. You have to dig harder (and) work harder and it's tough to play that way. In the end, we found a way to win and that's all that counts."
"You never know where it (the team's offense) is going to come from. I got lucky; I was just in the right place. (Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon) was letting a few rebounds kind of sit around there tonight. I was up in the play and hoping one popped out."
"I've seen tough times here but this is frustrating because you know you have a good enough team that they can play with the best in the league and we're making mistakes to lose games. This is the time of the season where everyone is playing their best hockey and we're playing our best for periods of time."