Tag: Ilya Bryzgalov


Video: Bryzgalov brings Wild fan to tears by giving away his goalie stick


Wednesday wasn’t a great night for Minnesota Wild goalies Ilya Bryzgalov and Darcy Kuemper, as they both struggled in a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. That doesn’t mean it was a night without its positive moments, especially when Bryzgalov delighted a fan by giving her his goalie stick:

That was the most heartwarming moment of stick use in the game, but Alexander Edler provided the other unusual bit of stick use by saving a goal:

Canucks win third in a row, Wild ponder situation in net

Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo was already answering questions about his team’s goaltending before Wednesday’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks, but the tone might change a little after that defeat.

Before that 5-2 defeat, it seemed like the questions came about more from an embarrassment of riches – or at least two/three solid choices – but Darcy Kuemper (pictured) and Ilya Bryzgalov had a rough night.

Kuemper was pulled after two periods in which he allowed three goals on 12 shots. Things didn’t go any better for Bryzgalov, however, as he allowed two goals on seven shots.

Minnesota generated a 31-19 shot advantage (including 15-6 in the second period), yet the Canucks took their third win in a row to keep hope alive. It’s difficult to imagine Vancouver (78 points, seven games remaining) catching Minnesota (85 points, eight games remaining), yet this improves the Canucks’ odds of catching the Phoenix Coyotes (82 points, eight games left) and Dallas Stars (79 points, nine games left) for the final wild card spot.

(It’s also worth noting that the Wild’s road ahead isn’t exactly a cakewalk.)

Burrows fights through it

If any Vancouver player deserves credit for toughness, it’s Alex Burrows.

Consider, for one, what he went through to begin the game:

If that wasn’t enough, he shook off a questionable hit by Nino Niederreiter (which earned the Wild forward a two-minute interference penalty). CJ Zero passes along a GIF of the check:


Playoff bubble watch — Wild edition

Mike Yeo

When we last checked in on the Wild, almost two weeks ago, they were sitting pretty comfortably with an 83.2 percent chance of making the playoffs, per Sports Club Stats.

Today, those odds are even more comfortable, at 92.5 percent, with a chance to bump them up even higher with a victory tonight at home versus Vancouver.

The Wild got a big win Sunday versus Detroit, beating the desperate Wings 4-3 in overtime after trailing 2-0 early. But like with any team that hasn’t officially clinched, there’s always some reason for concern that it could go all go sideways. For Minnesota — which has won just three of its last 10 games — that reason may be goaltending.

With neither Josh Harding nor Niklas Backstrom available, coach Mike Yeo has a choice between rookie Darcy Kuemper and much-maligned veteran Ilya Bryzgalov in the final 10 games of the regular season.

From the StarTribune:

Yeo said today that he’s not going to say these games will serve in determining the Wild’s No. 1 goalie if it makes the playoffs, but he said there’s no question the Wild will use these next 10 “days” to sort things out.

Kuemper’s game hasn’t been as strong as it was before the trade deadline. He has allowed three or more goals in four of his past six starts, but Yeo said he doesn’t think Kuemper is that far off from his “A” game.

As for Bryzgalov, who is 2-0-2, Yeo said, “He’s got experience being deep in the playoffs, which can be a real positive. Kuemps and his personality and his situation as far as being part of our future is going to play into it. He shows signs of being a guy that could be not only a good goalie, but a really good goalie in the playoffs because of his mental makeup, because of how he’s handled pressure, because how he’s been able to stay focused and stay in the short term and not get too wrapped up in what’s happened.”

If it’s not goaltending that’s cause for concern, Minnesota’s remaining schedule may be. After tonight’s game, the Wild face a daunting four-game road trip to St. Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Chicago, before returning home to play Pittsburgh. And that’s not all, because home games against Boston and St. Louis are also on the slate.

Granted, it’s not like Minnesota has to run the table to get into the postseason. Not even close. With a six-point lead over ninth-place Dallas, a record of, say, 4-6-0 would almost certainly do the trick. Beating the Canucks tonight would be a good place to start.

WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Detroit Red Wings

Zach Parise, Kyle Quincey

The Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild complete their home-and-home set with an important game for both teams at Joe Louis Arena tonight. You can watch it Sunday on NBCSN or via the live stream link below.


The Red Wings won thanks to Gustav Nyquist’s clinching goal on Saturday, taking a 3-2 victory in regulation. Jimmy Howard goes back-to-back while Ilya Bryzgalov faces Detroit instead of Darcy Kuemper today.

Detroit must feel emboldened by the Columbus Blue Jackets’ disappointing 2-0 loss to the New York Islanders earlier on Sunday. The Red Wings already hold the second wild card spot but can strengthen their hold over the bubble teams (and maybe even hop over the Maple Leafs depending upon how their game goes on Sunday).

The Wild are clearly the top wild card team in the West right now but another loss – particularly in regulation – could make things more intense.

TGIF: Philly’s flying high, led by Giroux

Washington Capitals v Philadelphia Flyers

Saturday: St. Louis at Philadelphia (1 p.m. ET)

Since finishing January with a 26-23-6 record, the Flyers are 11-2-1 and have scored at least four goals seven times in a single game. The same team that started the season with just 11 goals in its first eight games now ranks ninth in NHL offense. Leading the charge? Claude Giroux. Philly’s captain has 22 points in his last 14 games, and the 26-year-old who didn’t score his first goal until Nov. 9 now has 24 tallies on the season. In case you were wondering, this is the team that Paul Holmgren intended to build. A high-scoring, aggressive club that needs good, but not spectacular, goaltending to win. Now, how the Flyers fare in the playoffs is anyone’s guess. And while that may be true of a lot of teams, doesn’t it feel especially true with this one? Just a total wild card.

Saturday: Montreal at Toronto (7 p.m. ET)

Assuming James Reimer is traded this summer — and I think that’s a pretty good assumption at this point — where will he end up? The Islanders are one option, but given how hesitant Garth Snow has been to address his team’s most pressing concern, it’s hard to say how good an option. Other teams that may want to address their goaltending by adding a likeable 26-year-old with a .914 career save percentage include Calgary, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. May be worth noting that Flames general manager Brian Burke was a big believer in Reimer back in their Toronto days together.

Saturday: Washington at San Jose (10:30 p.m. ET)

Adam Oates said the Capitals needed to sweep their three-game trip to California. Karl Alzner said they could afford to lose one. Well, if they beat the Sharks, they’ll split the difference, with two wins and a shootout defeat. Granted, that won’t be easy, given San Jose’s 26-5-4 record at the Shark Tank. But the Caps have definitely shown some backbone lately, and that hasn’t always been something you associate with this team. The Kings racked up 50 hits against Washington Thursday, after which Oates said, “I’m proud of our guys and the way they stood up to it.” The playoffs are still somewhat of a long shot for Washington (18.2 percent, per Sports Club Stats), but there’s more hope today than there was a week ago.

Sunday: St. Louis at Pittsburgh (1 p.m. ET)

A “good wake-up call” is what Blues coach Ken Hitchcock called Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to the Blackhawks. “They’re the Stanley Cup champions for a reason. They know when to turn the temperature up. No matter what happens in the regular season, everybody in the West, to even give (Chicago) a go, you’re going to have to dial it up. They’re getting ready and it’s up to us to get ready. That’s the task. They dialed it up and we didn’t play well.” You almost wonder if the ‘Hawks went into that game with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. With all the talk about the Blues, and how this might finally be the year for St. Louis, the champs appeared pretty motivated to hold on to their crowns.

Sunday: Minnesota at Detroit (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

The second of a weekend back-to-back between these two teams. We all know about Detroit’s desperation to make the playoffs and extend its postseason-appearance streak to 23. But Minnesota isn’t exactly sitting safe and clear. The Wild are just 2-2-4 in their last eight, and neither Darcy Kuemper nor Ilya Bryzgalov are going to make fans feel totally secure in the goaltending down the stretch. Oh, and get a load of Minny’s remaining schedule: