Not much was expected from a franchise that spent most of the summer in bankruptcy court and changed coaches during training camp. But the Coyotes have been executing new coach Dave Tippett's system almost perfectly, and Bryzgalov has been there to make up for any mistakes.
Trading out Wayne Gretzky for Dave Tippett was a brilliant move for Phoenix. Though Tippet has been a wonderful whipping boy for Detroit historically, I always respected him as a coach. And he seems to be doing the right things with his team.
Bryzgalov has won five of his six starts this season; he allowed just one goal in the loss. Overall, he's surrendered seven goals in six games -- only three on 73 shots while going 3-0-0 last week -- and already owns shutouts at Pittsburgh and San Jose, where he won 1-0 in a shootout last Monday. Through the season's first 2 1/2 weeks, Bryzgalov is off to the best start of his career, with a 1.14 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage -- both tops among regular goaltenders. He's also the only netminder with more than one shutout.
Yikes. Bryzgalov is known for his inconsistent play, so let's hope that the hot streak he's been on cools down during this little break between games. That little 3-0-0 record earned him the NHL's #1 Star of the Week...and rightfully so.
Hopefully, the return of Pavel Datsyuk will help light a fire under the collective rear-ends of the Red Wings after losing to the former (maybe rekindled) rival, Colorado Avalanche. I'm curious as to see what the lines are going to look like with #13 back in the fold.
Please put Datsyuk and Zetterberg together, Mike...please.