The Phoenix Coyotes know they can't continue to depend so heavily on outstanding goaltending. A matchup at Toronto may put even more pressure on their offense.
Following their first regulation loss in eight games, the Coyotes look to stop the Maple Leafs and their suddenly surging scorers from posting a fifth straight victory at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
Phoenix (19-12-2) had earned points in seven straight (6-0-1) prior to a 3-2 loss to Detroit on Monday night. It was the first time in nine games that Ilya Bryzgalov gave up more than two goals.
"You can't rely on your goalie each and every night to bail you out," said defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who had two assists in his return from a two-game suspension.
Bryzgalov was named the NHL's third star for last week after he went 2-0-1 with a 0.97 goals-against average.
Bryzgalov relieved Mikael Tellqvist in a 6-3 win over Toronto on Dec. 4, 2008, shutting out the Maple Leafs in the final period. He is 2-0-0 with a 1.07 GAA in three games against Toronto.
Phoenix is likely going to need to give Bryzgalov some help, though. The Coyotes have scored two goals in five of their last six, while Toronto has scored 17 times in winning its last four at home after winning two of its first 12 there.
The Maple Leafs (12-14-7) beat Ottawa 3-2 on Monday night, improving to 9-3-1 since dropping five in a row Nov. 10-19.
While Toronto has had a strong run offensively, it has also gotten consistent goaltending from Vesa Toskala in recent weeks. Toskala has given up fewer than three goals in three of his last five games.
"Vesa has done a great job recently," coach Ron Wilson said. "It's huge when you start to trust your goaltender, other things start to fall into place, you get more offensive opportunities. The defensemen aren't worried about making mistakes and, thereby, don't make as many, generally."
Toskala gave up all six goals in last season's meeting with the Coyotes. Jovanovski had two assists in that game.
Jovanovski had another strong performance versus the Red Wings after being suspended by the NHL last Wednesday for a forearm to the head of Minnesota center Andrew Ebbett on Dec. 7. He has six points and 10 assists despite missing 13 games due to injuries and suspensions.
Jovanovski helped Taylor Pyatt and Radim Vrbata score against Detroit. Vrbata has a team-high 10 goals, including one in each of his last three games.
Shane Doan, who leads the Coyotes with 19 points, has been held off the scoresheet in five of his last six games and hasn't scored a goal since a 3-2 win over Anaheim on Nov. 29.