Ilya iffy against Oilers

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

His arrival in the desert helped the Phoenix Coyotes turn their season around.

But heading into last night's game, Ilya Bryzgalov has never been overly successful against the Edmonton Oilers.

In two previous starts against the Oilers this season, the Coyotes No. 1 goaltender has conceded eight goals and is saddled with a 5.39 goals against average.

"The game here, the last time we played them, it seemed like one of those games where everything we threw at the net was going in," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish yesterday, following the morning skate.

"It seemed like the shots were finding holes and it didn't have much to do with the way he was playing," he added, emphasizing that you never take it for granted that you have a goalie's number.

3 GOALS ON 11 SHOTS

But Bryzgalov's fortunes against Copper and Blue didn't turn around last night.He got the hook at the end of the first period after letting in three goals on 11 shots.

Bryzgalov didn't make it to the midway point in his first game against the Oilers at Rexall Place this season, giving up four goals on 15 shots before getting pulled nine minutes into the second period.

In his last start on Saturday, Bryzgalov gave up four goals on 36 shots and came close to decapitating referee Don Koharski by throwing his goal stick into the end boards following the Oilers' fourth goal.

"It's one of those funny things to try and figure out when you have a goalie's number and you've had some success against them winning games," said Oilers forward Jarret Stoll.

"You just have to try and get a lot of shots against him and we had a lot of shots in Phoenix."

Brygalov's issues against the Oilers isn't limited to his time in Phoenix.

He also had difficulty against them as a member of the Anaheim Ducks.

In the 2006 Western Conference Final, the Oilers chased Bryzgalov after three games and went on to win the series in five.

This after the native of Togliatti, Russia had played so well to that point that he displaced J.S. Giguere as the Duck starting goaltender.

"I have no idea why we've has so much success against him," said Oilers forward Kyle Brodziak, who has three goals in three games against the Coyotes this season heading into last night's contest.

"I've been fortunate to play pretty well against him, I can't explain it, but hopefully I can keep it going."

Apart from his play against the Oilers, Bryzgalov has been great for the Coyotes this season.

He had a 27-22-5 record going into last night's game with a 2.37 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.

The Coyotes were 8-10 before picking Bryzgalov up off waivers on Nov. 17th.

"I know we've had a lot of success with him in the past, but I don't often put a lot of credence in that," MacTavish said.

"Even with our own goalies, you kind of really go with who's playing best at the time and who you have more confidence in, regardless of what their record is against the opponent."


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