Ilya Bryzgalov: The Key to the Phoenix Coyotes success and failure

Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov of Russia, makes a save against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period during an NHL game in Glendale, Arizona, March 6, 2010. Bryzgalov shut out the Ducks and earned a franchise high 34th win on the season. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

Ilya Bryzgalov has become a star as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, but the 30 year-old net minder still has something to prove.

Bryzgalov has amassed 130 wins in his 4 year stint with the Coyotes, and has helped the pack make the playoffs for 2 straight years now. This past season, Bryzgalov won 36 games and had a 2.48 GAA with a .921 save percentage. These are top notch numbers, but these didn’t exactly translate into the playoffs. In the Coyotes series against the Red Wings, Bryagalov had a 4.36 GAA and a .879 save percentage. Because of his lackluster play the Coyotes were swept.

Bryagalov has a 12-13 overall record in the postseason but his record with the Coyotes in the postseason is a dismal 3-8. It is hard to understand why a veteran goaltender like Bryzgalov can have such good regular season numbers, but can’t seem to help his team make a deep playoff run.

Bryzgalov is set to be a free agent this summer, and the Coyotes are going to have to consider resigning him. Before the Coyotes announced they were staying in Phoenix, Bryzgalov expressed his resentment for the potential move to Winnipeg. Now that the Coyotes are staying though, look for the them to resign Bryzgalov. Even though the Russian goalie hasn’t had a good postseason since he has been with the club, he has arguably been their most valuable player the past two seasons. Being swept by Detroit this past season certainly left a sour taste in his mouth and he will take the ice next year with something to prove.

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