After a few lackluster efforts defensively, the Phoenix Coyotes did all the right things in their own zone in their 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Thursday night.
Despite the fact that they allowed 36 shots, not one found its way into the Phoenix net. Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov turned around from his five goals allowed performance and stoned the Kings on all 36 shots, turning aside each LA opportunity. The shutout was Bryzgalov's third of the season.
In a world where Phoenix rarely gets outshot by their opponents, Thursday night was an anomaly in LA. The Coyotes mustered up just 15 shots, but they wouldn't need more than that to escape from LA with the victory.
Martin Hanzal got the scoring started on a controversial goal that put the Coyotes up 1-0. Hanzal knocked the puck in off of a Ray Whitney shot, but the replay showed his stick was above the crossbar. However, the call on the ice was a goal, and the officials in Toronto found no evidence to overturn it, upholding the Hanzal goal.
Less than a minute later, Lee Stempniak added the Coyotes second goal of the game to give them the 2-0 edge in the second period. Phoenix had just 10 shots through two and then the 15 for the game. It would be all they would need, though.
While the number of penalties is a red flag for the Coyotes, their penalty kill was as impressive as Bryzgalov was all night. Phoenix easily killed all six penalties they faced, keeping the offensively struggling Kings down where they were heading into Thursday's game.
The Coyotes will have a chance to sweep the home-and-home when they meet the Kings on Saturday night. Phoenix will hold the home ice advantage, with the puck scheduled to drop at 6 pm local time at Jobing.com Arena.