Tag: Ilya Bryzgalov

Martin St. Louis, Marc-Andre Fleury

Five individual playoff stats you may find interesting


.925 — Marc-Andre Fleury’s save percentage this postseason. It was only .908 in the first round against Columbus, but has risen considerably on the strength of two shutouts over the Rangers. Among regular starters in these playoffs, only Tuukka Rask (.939) and Corey Crawford (.936) have stopped a higher percentage of shots than Fleury.

“I don’t think there was any question he was the best player on the ice,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after Fleury’s 35-save shutout last night at MSG.

.830 — Ilya Bryzgalov’s save percentage in five appearances for the Wild, by far the lowest of any goalie that’s started a game this postseason. Bryzgalov has faced just 21 shots in each of the two games versus the Blackhawks, and that’s a heck of an accomplishment for Minnesota against a team that averaged 33.1 shots during the regular season.

Unfortunately for the Wild, their goalie has been beaten seven times, including this back-breaker in Game 1:

Nice shot? Absolutely.

Stoppable shot? Without a doubt.

1.8 — Points per game for Brent Seabrook. Nobody boasts a higher number than that. The Chicago defenseman was suspended for three games against St. Louis, but he’s still managed to rack up nine points in the five he’s played. Just another one of those right-shooting d-men that are all the rage these days.

6 — Goals for Marian Gaborik. Nobody has more. The Kings got Gaborik from Columbus in March for Matt Frattin, a second-round and conditional third-round pick. So yeah, not a bad deadline deal right there. Certainly, skating on a line with Anze Kopitar has helped Gaborik, but let’s not use that against him — he was picked up to score, and he’s done just that.

41 — Shots for Rick Nash. Nobody has more. And that’s good, in theory. But did we mention Nash has zero goals and apparently needs to put his “big boy pants” on? Why exactly the shots aren’t going in for the hefty winger is a good question. Some of it’s probably bad luck. But Nash had similar issues in last year’s playoffs when he scored just once on 42 shots, so it’s feasible there’s an issue with the quality of shots he’s getting. Regardless, it’s his job to convert, and for the Rangers’ sake he needs to figure it out quick.

Get your game notes: ‘Hawks at Wild

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

Tonight on CNBC, it’s the Minnesota Wild hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 9 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Chicago scored two late third period goals to put away Minnesota in Game 2 and take a 2-0 series advantage. The series now shifts about 400 miles northwest to St. Paul and the Xcel Energy Center, where the Wild have won all three of their home games this postseason. They have allowed the fewest amount of goals/game of any team in the playoffs at home (1.00), but are tied for the most goals allowed/game on the road (4.33). Their lone win on the road in the playoffs was Game 7 in Colorado when they defeated the Avalanche, 5-4 in overtime.

• Chicago has now won six straight playoff games after winning the final four games in their First-Round series vs. STL. Marian Hossa (0-3) and Bryan Bickell (1-2) both tallied three points in Game 2. For Hossa, it was his second straight game with three points after picking up a goal and two assists in Game 1. He now has 4-8—12 in seven career postseason games vs. MIN, including a trio of three-point performances (also, 2-1—3 on May 9, 2013). Bickell extended his point streak to five games (5-3—8) and is off to another strong playoffs after an impressive performance during Chicago’s Stanley Cup run last year.

• The Wild’s letter players — Mikko Koivu (“C”), Zach Parise (“A”), Ryan Suter (“A”) — have struggled in the two playoff matchups against Chicago this season and last. In the seven games they’ve played against Chicago, they have a combined two points.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has now won a career-high six straight playoff games. During this stretch, he has allowed nine goals (1.43 GAA) with a .951 save percentage. Ilya Bryzgalov has gotten both starts in net for the Wild in this series, posting a 3.54 GAA and a .833 save percentage.

• The Blackhawks haven’t won the first road game in a Stanley Cup Playoff series since Game 1 of the 2010 Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks. Since then, Chicago is 0-8 in series road openers, including a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3 against the Wild last year.

PHT Morning Skate: Habs, Wild look to turn things around at home

Michel Therrien

Tonight’s Game 3 match-ups in Montreal and St. Paul are vital ones for the host teams.

The Montreal Canadiens are trying to shake off the disappointment of their Game 2 loss in which they blew a 3-1 third period and gave up four unanswered goals on the way to a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins. Home ice advantage could come in handy for the Habs as the crowd at Bell Centre will surely be at fever pitch.

The Minnesota Wild are in a bit more of a predicament down 2-0 in the series to the Chicago Blackhawks. In spite of the losses, they feel like they’re right there with the defending champs. That may have been the case in Game 1, but Game 2 saw Chicago dominate.

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Game 3: Montreal Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins [Series tied 1-1] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Canadiens are hoping home ice can help them gain an advantage on the Bruins and after Bruins coach Claude Julien’s complaints about the lack of calls in Game 2 going his team’s way, looking for the officials to bend things more their way in Montreal is an interesting tactic.

Michel Therrien recognized what Julien was doing, however, and this is where home ice comes into play as Bell Centre can be one of the most intimidating places for players and officials alike to play in.

For the Habs, Thomas Vanek got things going with a pair of power play goals in Game 2, but the area they have to get better is 5-on-5. Four of the seven goals they’ve scored in the series have come on the power play whereas all eight of the Bruins’ goals have come at even strength.

Reilly Smith has been big in the first two games with two goals. Boston’s defensemen have been equally strong with Dougie Hamilton having two goals and Torey Krug and Johnny Boychuk with one each.

Game 3: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks [Chicago leads series 2-0] (9:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

The mission for the Wild seems simple. After getting run over by Patrick Kane in Game 1, they kept him quiet in Game 2… Only to see Marian Hossa have a big night setting teammates up with three assists. The guy who’s been killing them in both games is last season’s playoff stud in Bryan Bickell.

In two games, Bickell has three goals and two assists. After a regular season in which he had 15 points, having five in two games sounds like a major problem for Minnesota.

Another serious issues for the Wild comes from their star players being shut down. Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, and Mikko Koivu are struggling badly as the three have combined for two assists, both coming on Clayton Stoner’s goal in Game 1. With the series shifting to home ice for Minnesota, those players have to find ways to get free to create and generate opportunities.

People can talk about Ilya Bryzgalov’s goaltending issues all they want, but unless the offense helps out, the Wild are in trouble.

Bryzgalov remains ‘the guy’ in net for Wild heading into Game 3

Wild Blackhawks Hockey

While Ilya Bryzgalov’s individual stats continue to look paltry on paper, many believe that he wasn’t at fault for many (if any) of the goals he’s allowed through two losses against the Chicago Blackhawks. Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo shares that sentiment … or at least he realizes that he doesn’t have much of a choice but to support Bryzgalov.

Following Sunday’s 4-1 Game 2 loss, Yeo emphatically named Bryzgalov as Minnesota’s Game 3 starter. In fact, he said that discussing it is basically a waste of time in general, as NHL.com reports.

“He’s in the net,” Yeo said. “We got to find a way to get a win and that’s all of us. That’s him, but our team too and I’m not going to sit around and wait for another option, for someone else to come in. This is the guy, so let’s quit even talking about it. We shouldn’t even be talking about who is backing up. [Bryzgalov] is the guy right now and so we have to find a way as a team and as a staff to get a win.”

As this post indicates, one way to get back into the series would be to find away for the big trio of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter to break free.

Whatever the case may be, it’s up to Yeo to find the answers and Bryzgalov & Co. to rise to the occasion to avoid a swift exit against the Blackhawks.

At least Yeo is doing whatever he can to avoid the distraction of a goalie controversy. Then again, the Wild are probably accustomed to unrest considering their luck with netminders this season.

Here’s video of Yeo’s press conference:

Blackhawks take 2-0 series lead against Wild after pulling away in third period

Jonathan Toews

Much like Game 1, the contest was quite a bit closer than the final score might indicate,* but the bottom line is that the Chicago Blackhawks now have a 2-0 series lead against the Minnesota Wild after winning Game 2 by a 4-1 mark on Sunday.

Closer than it appears?

It’s easy to see that the Blackhawks are hot right now. Stretching back to their first-round battle against the St. Louis Blues, they’ve now won six consecutive playoff games.

It’s also a special win for head coach Joel Quenneville, for those counting:

The good news for the Wild is that they’ve been here before. The Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 series lead against them in round one only to see Minnesota advance after seven games (which included an overtime battle in that decisive game). While the first two games against Colorado were often out of control for Minnesota, these first two losses were tighter until the Blackhawks pulled away in the third period of each game.

The shot totals probably tell the story best: Minnesota limited Chicago to 22 shots on goal in both games.

Not easy for Breezy

For all the good that comes out of those observations, the bottom line is that the Wild have been outscored by a combined score of 9-3 through these first two games.

Fair or not, one must wonder if Minnesota can put much trust in Ilya Bryzgalov. The Russian-born goalie has lost four of five games in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs and his lone win came in just 13:15 of game time (from Game 7 after Darcy Kuemper left with an injury). His individual numbers haven’t been very strong, either, so it’s not just a matter of the team in front of him.

It’s probably true that Bryzgalov isn’t the only problem for Minnesota, yet they might just need him to carry them at times. (The goals often haven’t been Breezy’s fault, but his prospects as an unrestricted free agent seem to dip with each start.)

Bickell heats up

While Patrick Kane understandably grabbed the spotlight in Chicago’s Game 1 win, it’s worth noting that the Bryan Bickell – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa line is on fire for the ‘Hawks.

Toews scored the first goal for Chicago, Bickell collected two assists and added a goal in the third period (after clanging the iron on his previous shift) and Hossa had three helpers in Game 2. It’s little surprise that Toews and Hossa are looking strong, but Bickell seems to be on track for a playoff breakthrough for the second straight year. After only managing 15 points in 59 games in the regular season, Bickell has eight playoff points (all in a four-game streak).

If this trio can keep it going, it will be highly difficult for any team to slow Chicago down.

* – In the case of Game 1, it was 5-2.