Tag: Ilya Bryzgalov

Dany Heatley, Patrick Kane

WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks (Game 2)


The Wild knew that they would have their hands full against the Blackhawks and Chicago emphasized that point its 5-2 victory.

The Blackhawks skilled forwards were on full display, frustrating Wild coach Mike Yeo, who initially said that too many of his players gave “below average” performances. He was a little more measured when he reflected further on Saturday.

“We played a good game last game, but we didn’t play a great game,” Yeo told the Star Tribune. “The little things that were missing, there was just a very small dip in some of the little things — stick on puck, net front screens, whether it’s a shot block that end up being the difference.

“Knowing who we’re playing against and the level of team that they are, we’re not going to get away with playing good games.”

Minnesota will start Ilya Bryzgalov this afternoon, though that’s due to a lack of options. Meanwhile, Chicago forward Andrew Shaw is out after sustaining a lower-body injury in Game 1. Kris Versteeg will return to the lineup to help fill the void.

The game will start at 3:00 p.m. on NBC. You can also stream it online:


PHT Morning Skate: Penguins look to even series vs. Rangers

Marc-Andre Fleury, Robert Bortuzzo, Derick Brassard

Saturday’s action continued two trends that have shaped the 2014 playoffs: Overtime action and blown two-goal leads.

Montreal came very close to winning back-to-back games at Boston’s TD Garden and improving to 6-0 in the playoffs, but they coughed up a 3-1 lead with less than 10 minutes left in regulation en route to a 5-3 loss.

In the opener of the Ducks-Kings series, Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne scored his first goal of the postseason at 8:08 of the third period. That marker stood as the potential winner until Marian Gaborik tied the game in the dying seconds of regulation time and then cemented his place as the contest’s hero by netting his second goal of the night 12:07 minutes into overtime.

While those teams rest up, the other remaining four squads will play today.

Game 2: Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks [Chicago leads series 1-0] (3:00 p.m. ET — NBC)

With goaltenders Darcy Kuemper, Niklas Backstrom, and Josh Harding unavailable, the Wild will once again put their faith in Ilya Bryzgalov. Wild coach Mike Yeo has publicly backed Bryzgalov, but as long as he’s between the pipes, he’s definitely Minnesota’s primary X-Factor.

Which isn’t to suggest that Bryzgalov deserves the blame for Chicago’s 5-2 victory in Game 1. The Blackhawks did a great job of outmaneuvering the Wild’s defense to set up some prime scoring opportunities. Patrick Kane’s game-winning goal in particular was a thing of beauty.

Minnesota got this far by squeaking by a young, enthusiastic, but still raw and largely inexperienced Colorado Avalanche team. There’s no question the Avalanche were also very talented, but Chicago is a whole different story. They’re a deep team that knows how to win together when the stakes are raised.

The Wild have their work cut out for them if they want to claw their way to the Western Conference Final, but a win today would rob the Blackhawks of home-ice advantage before Minnesota returns to the Xcel Energy Center, where they were 26-10-5 in the regular season and 3-0 in the first round.

Game 2: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins [New York leads 1-0] (7:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit in Game 1 to force the contest to overtime, but still ended up losing courtesy of a strange sequence that technically involved two Rangers goals.

Although Pittsburgh had the better record in the regular season and has no shortage of talent, it’s debatable whether or not they were actually the favorites going into this series. They certainly have an uphill battle ahead of them now that they’ve lost home-ice advantage.

Whatever you want to label them as though, the Penguins are up to the task of winning this series. If Sidney Crosby enjoys a breakout game like Evgeni Malkin did in Game 6 of the first round, then that alone could tip the scales in favor of Pittsburgh. Even without that though, the Penguins have so many offensive options that even a goaltender as skilled as Henrik Lundqvist should be consistently challenged.

Tonight’s match is a continuation of a rough start to the series for these teams. They played in Game 1 on Friday and Game 3 will be in New York tomorrow.

Wild coach expects strong work from Bryzgalov in Game 2

Ilya Bryzgalov

Whether the Minnesota Wild like it or not, they’ll need to stick with Ilya Bryzgalov in net against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 on Sunday. If nothing else, head coach Mike Yeo is saying all the right things about Breezy, at least to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

Yeo told Russo that he has a “good feeling” that the 33-year-old netminder will “play well” in Game 2.

As PHT noted on Friday, injuries continue to hinder the Wild in net. Yeo backed up yesterday’s update that Darcy Kuemper is not with the team just yet as he continues to struggle with an injury suffered during Game 7 of the Wild’s first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche.

While Yeo is putting on a brave face, Russo notes that Bryzgalov has been struggling lately. After a strong finish to the regular season (5-1-1 with two shutouts), Bryzgalov has struggled in the postseason. His lone playoff win in 2014 came after playing 13:15 in Game 7 following Kuemper’s injury.

Despite besting Bryzgalov and the Wild 5-2 in Game 1, more than a few Blackhawks players noted that they weren’t totally happy with their efforts in that victory (Johnny Oduya told Russo that they “got away with one”), so things could be even more challenging for the Russian goalie.