Coyotes 5, Ducks 2.

Seeing Ilya Bryzgalov face the Ducks is no longer a novelty. Sunday marked the 22nd start for Bryz against the team that placed him on waivers in Nov. 2007. Statistically, the 30-year-old goalie has had better starts in Anaheim, but the Ducks have rarely looked so frustrated against their former backup goalie.

The biggest reason: Their own goaltending wasn’t so spectacular. Dan Ellis was off, allowing four goals on 21 shots over two periods before giving way to Ray Emery. Emery, making his first start since Feb. 1, 2010, played the entire third period and appeared to be on, stopping all nine shots he faced.

By then it was too late. The Coyotes (36-23-11, 83 points) denied any notions of another third-period comeback by the Ducks (37-37-5, 79 points), and gained a four-point cushion on their rivals with a 5-2 victory.

“They sat back and played a defensive-style game,” Ducks center Todd Marchant said of the third period. “They put the puck around the boards, around the rim quite a bit, chipped it by our defense. We had a tough time in the third sustaining any kind of forecheck. You can point your finger at Bryz. He played really well for them. We put 39 [actually 38] shots on net, a lot of them were point-blank opportunities, and he made some good saves. That’s not an excuse, but it’s a reality of the game.”
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Phoenix 3, Ducks 0.

The Ducks were shut out for the second time in three nights at Honda Center, leaving the ice to an assortment of boos after Ilya Bryzgalov’s 26-save effort.

Taylor Pyatt, Shane Doan and Lee Stempniak scored goals for Phoenix, which limited the Ducks’ scoring chances to give Bryzgalov a relatively easy night. Stempniak’s goal came into an empty net with 2:56 left.

Jonas Hiller stoped 36 of 39.

Ducks 6, Phoenix 3.

The only certainty at the moment in the Pacific Division is that you can’t be certain about anything in the Pacific Division.

All five teams are separated by two points, thanks to the Ducks’ 6-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. Losers of six straight, the Ducks ended the Coyotes’ seven-game winning streak by scoring five straight goals to erase a 3-1 deficit.

Bobby Ryan scored three of the five for his first hat trick of the season. Corey Perry scored one and Brandon McMillan had another, the first goal of his NHL career, off a precision pass by Ryan Getzlaf from behind the Coyotes’ net.

Jason Blake scored in the first period against Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who had allowed six goals in his past four games but doubled that total Saturday. “Bryz” fell to 9-7-2 against the Ducks in his career.
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All-Star voting begins today.

Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan are on the ballot for the NHL All-Star Game, which will be played Jan. 30 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. Voting began at midnight and closes Jan. 3 at vote.nhl.com.

Ryan has never appeared in an All-Star Game in three NHL seasons. Perry played in the 2008 game; Getzlaf appeared in the 2008 and 2009 contests and Selanne invented the game as a youth. Not quite, but he got his first All-Star bid as a 23-year-old in 1993 and has played in 10 Games during in his 18-year career.

Selanne could well make it 11. He is tied with Getzlaf for ninth in the league in scoring with 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 19 games. Perry is tied for fifth with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists). Ryan is tied for 19th with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) and his plus-7 rating – for whatever that is worth in fan balloting – is the highest of the Ducks’ quartet.

Interesting to note: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2.62 GAA, .899 save pct.) is on the ballot. Jonas Hiller (2.83 GAA, .920 save pct.) is not. The other ex-Ducks on the ballot include Chris Pronger (Philadelphia) and Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix).

Bryzgalov nominated for Vezina.

Former Duck Ilya Bryzgalov, along with New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

In his second season as the Coyotes’ starter, Bryzgalov was second in the league in shutouts (8), third in wins (42), sixth in goals-against average (2.29), seventh in starts (69) and eighth in both shots faced (1,961) and saves (1,805). His season included a shutout streak of 137 minutes and 46 seconds which spanned parts of three games from October 12-15. He also bobs his head and sings “What is Love?” from “A Night at the Roxbury.”

Bryz was the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere for parts of four
seasons until Jonas Hiller arrived in Anaheim. His rise to prominence in Phoenix, along with today’s announcement that he was among the top three in Vezina voting by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, has led to many retellings of the story of his exodus from Anaheim.

For those wondering how the Ducks could have let Bryzgalov leave for free, here is what we wrote when he was placed on waivers in November, 2007 …

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Phoenix 4, Ducks 0.

Looking as if they’re not in the same league as the Pacific Division leaders, the Ducks laid an egg in Phoenix, their second straight loss coming out of the Olympic break.

Ilya Bryzgalov recorded his second shutout against his former team this season, stopping all 32 shots he faced in a masterful performance. The Ducks failed to convert on seven power-play attempts. The Coyotes got goals from Petr Prucha, Wojtek Wolski, Vern Fiddler and Keith Yandle, with Prucha’s goal late in the first period coming on a 5-on-4 power play.

Jonas Hiller stopped 26 of 30 shots, including a few great saves, but was left out to dry by his defense on several occasions.

Phoenix 4, Ducks 0.

A day after one of their most inspiring efforts of the season, the Ducks were flat from start to finish in Glendale.

There must have been some magic in the snow, because the Ducks left it all behind in Colorado after coming back to beat the Avalanche 4-2 on Tuesday. They couldn’t score on former teammate Ilya Bryzgalov, who needed only 21 saves to record his league-leading fifth shutout of the season.

Outshot 11-7 and 13-6 in the first two periods, respectively, the Ducks (15-15-7) did a better job controlling the zone in the third period, when they kept the shot count even at 8. But Phoenix’s suffocating defense, combined with some sloppy puck-moving – possibly fatigue-induced — kept the Ducks from scoring the goal needed to spark another comeback.

The recently reliable second line of Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Dan Sexton combined to put one shot on Bryzgalov all night.

On the other end, Jonas Hiller wasn’t as sharp as he was in Denver, stopping 25 of 28 before giving way to Jean-Sebastien Giguere with 8:02 left in the third period. Giguere let in a power-play goal to Robert Lang to provide the final score, the only goal he allowed on four shots.

The Ducks get a couple days off before facing the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday.

Phoenix 3, Ducks 2, OT.

Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan scored goals, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves, but Jim Vandermeer’s second goal of the game at 1:18 of overtime lifted the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-2 victory at Honda Center.

Corey Perry assisted on Nick Boynton’s late goal, giving him a franchise-record and NHL-leading 18 straight games with a point.

With time running out on the Ducks’ three-game winning streak (and Perry’s point streak), Ryan deflected a shot from the right point past Ilya Bryzgalov at 18:06 of the third period. Perry was credited with the secondary assist.

Getzlaf’s goal came with the Ducks holding a 5-on-4 power play at 5:12 of the second period.

Coyotes 3, Ducks 2, shootout.

Radim Vrbata scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Ducks left Glendale with a point in the standings following a 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ilya Bryzgalov was perfect in the shootout, and the former Duck engaged Jonas Hiller in a nifty goalies’ duel through 65 minutes. Bryzgalov stopped 32 of 34 and Hiller stopped 30 of 32 in his second start in as many nights.

Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne scored for the Ducks. Selanne’s goal, with 9:47 left in the third period, gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead that seemed sure to hold up. Then Phoenix’s Vernon Fiddler scored a mere 18 seconds later, tapping a rebound past Hiller to re-tie the game at 2.

Evgeny Artyukhin returned to the Ducks’ lineup following a three-game suspension, joining Todd Marchant and Petteri Nokelainen on the third line. In another significant lineup move, Bobby Ryan re-joined Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line and stayed there, logging 18:44 of ice time.