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Coyotes’ Bryzgalov making noise with shutouts

Phoenix Coyotes’ goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is making the necessary contributions.

After getting 27 saves in the Coyotes’ 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night, Bryzgalov recorded his seventh shutout of the season. More importantly, it was his 23rd career shutout and he is now tied with Nikolai Khabibulin for the franchise lead with 21 shutouts.

“He is a top-notch goalie,” said head coach Dave Tippet. “He is one of the top players in this league and we rely on him heavily.”

Bryzgalov’s level of play, among others, has kept the Coyotes two points behind the San Jose Sharks and has given them a chance to clinch the Pacific Division when the two teams face off Saturday night. The Sharks lost a shootout to the Kings on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

“We’ve got six left and San Jose three times so those are obviously going to be big games for us,” Tippet said. “Right now we’re focused on trying to play as best [as] we can but going into Saturday night’s game you’ve got to recognize your opponent and what could be at stake.”