The Hockey News player of the week for the period of Dec. 7-13 is Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
In three starts on the week, ‘Cool Bryz’ posted a 2-0-1 record to get the Coyotes to third in the division, sixth in the conference, and five points behind their division leaders with two games in hand.
In his first start, Bryzgalov shut the door on the surging Minnesota Wild, turning aside 28 shots and bringing his GAA down below 2.00 for the first time since Nov. 7.
His start against the Kings was the only hiccup on the week and Bryzgalov still turned aside 26, falling 3-2 in a shootout to their upstart divisional foe.
Against the high-powered San Jose Sharks offense, Bryzgalov faced 38 shots, allowing only one goal and leading his team to a huge win to keep them in the hunt for a playoff spot as well as within shouting distance of the top teams in the Pacific.
Bryzgalov’s .968 save percentage on the week brings his yearly total to .928, while he is among the league leaders in GAA (1.95) and wins (18). With a 19-11-2 record, Phoenix sits sixth in the Western Conference, three points up on ninth-placed Detroit.