So the importance of Bryzgalov’s start Friday night against a visiting
“I’m not making any comments that if he doesn’t play good, [minor-leaguer John] Gibson is coming back,” Ducks Coach
"We just want Bryz to play the way he's capable of playing. We know he's a really good goalie. I've seen him play for years, and he's been really good.
"It's tough when you come [nearly] halfway through the year and you're spotting every fourth or fifth game, but we've had good practices, where he never had a chance to have good practices before his last start.
"Now that we have, I think he's ready. I think he'll play great."
Bryzgalov, 34, was lured from his family home in New Jersey and signed as a free agent Dec. 9, then was rushed into a relief appearance, giving up two goals on seven shots Dec. 16 in a 6-2 loss at Toronto.
He was then barraged three days later -- six goals allowed at Ottawa in 31 shots -- in another 6-2 defeat.
He started again Jan. 7 at home against the
The Ducks have extended time off this month, but starting Jan. 29, they play 12 games in 24 days, with three sets of back-to-backs and eight of those games on the road.
They need a steady backup for
In Norfolk, Gibson, 21, has made six starts and is 2-2 with a 2.36 goals-against average.
BELESKEY DISCUSSES BENCHING:
Beleskey on Friday said he "hopes" to play Friday night.
"There's only one way to take it: You've got to come back and play better," Beleskey said. "Obviously, what I was doing wasn't cutting it. Got to take it and move on.
"You never want to sit out, never want to be out of the lineup. Do I think I deserved it? I didn't play well in two games. He was sending a message. It was received. It was a combination. He wants me to play harder. We've talked about it."
Beleskey had played in all 43 of the Ducks' prior games, scoring 17 goals in what has been a career year in his contract year.