Tag: Ilya Bryzgalov

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31: Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Minnesota Wild reacts to play during a break in the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 31, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The Minnesota Wild won 3-2.

Bryz by default: Kuemper not with Wild, Harding ‘extreme longshot’ to play


Minnesota’s goaltending saga continued on Friday, as head coach Mike Yeo said that Darcy Kuemper — who started the Wild’s Game 7 win over Colorado — didn’t travel with the team to Chicago due to an upper-body injury, and that Josh Harding, who took today’s morning skate, is an “extreme long-shot” to play in this series.

That means — barring a brazen decision to put 30-year-old journeyman John Curry in goal — Ilya Bryzgalov is your Game 1 starter tonight at the United Center.

The Kuemper development isn’t a huge surprise. He was hooked from Wednesday’s 5-4 OT win against the Avs with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation, after appearing to have re-aggravated his concussion issues (maybe not the right terminology there, but I digress) on a collision with Matt Duchene.

Here’s more, from the Minnesota Star-Tribune:

Duchene collided with Kuemper behind the net. Kuemper fell and his head hit Ryan Suter’s knee. He looked shaken up but stayed in the game. The Stastny and Johnson goals probably should have been stopped. With 8:13 left, Suter went over to Kuemper to talk to him.

He skated to the bench, talked to Yeo and Ilya Bryzgalov stood up and finally entered the game after athletic therapist Don Fuller pulled Kuemper. Kuemper missed the final seven regular-season games and couldn’t start Games 1 and 2 of this series with a concussion. I think he had a relapse.

The Harding development is a little more surprising. While he’s been around the team for a while now and resumed practicing in early April, Harding hasn’t played Dec. 31 after undergoing a chance in his treatment protocol for multiple sclerosis. He took an extended leave from the team because he wasn’t feeling well — something many assumed would lead to him being shut down for the year — but Yeo made a point of saying he hasn’t ruled out Harding’s return (while acknowledging such a return was unlikely, of course).

If Harding’s healthy, the possibility of getting him back is huge. He playing at a Vezina-caliber level prior to going on IR, posting outrageous numbers ( 18-7-2, 1.66 GAA, .933 save percentage) while emerging as the Wild’s first-half MVP.

Get your game notes: Wild at Blackhawks

Jeremy Morin,Erik Haula

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• The Wild defeated Colorado in seven games to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Their Game 7 win at Colorado on Wednesday ended an eight-game road losing streak in playoff games, and raised their record in their last 14 road games to 2-12. The Blackhawks, who won all three games at United Center versus St. Louis in the first round, are 14-2 at home since the beginning of their Stanley Cup-winning run last postseason.

• Fourteen of the 46 first-round games went to overtime. Both the Wild and Blackhawks went to overtime four times in the opening round, the most among any of the remaining teams, and became the 11th and 12th teams in NHL history to go to OT four or more times in one series. Minnesota played 21:04 of extra hockey, going 2-2 in those games. Chicago played more than three times that much (65:09), also going 2-2.

• This will be the second-ever postseason meeting between the Wild and Blackhawks; Chicago beat Minnesota last year in the first round in five games, outscoring the Wild 17-7. Chicago’s lone loss in the series came in Game 3, a 3-2 OT loss at Minnesota. The Blackhawks outscored the Wild 12-4 at home in the series, scoring five goals in two of the games and holding Minnesota to no more than two goals in all three home games. Chicago has won 11 straight playoff series with home-ice advantage dating back to 1993, when they were swept by St. Louis in the Norris Division Semifinals.

• Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp (one goal) was held in check by the Blues in round one. However, he was the star of last season’s series versus Minnesota, scoring five goals in five games, on his way to a playoff-leading 10 goals. Since 2009, the Blackhawks are 23-4 in the playoffs when Sharp scores a goal.

• One Blackhawks career postseason record was broken, and another was matched versus St. Louis. In Game 4, winger Patrick Kane scored his third-career overtime goal, tying him with Jeremy Roenick for the most in franchise history. Center Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goals for Chicago in Games 5 and 6. The second of those gave him nine for his career, one more than Roenick for the franchise high.

• In Game 7 versus Colorado, Wild winger Nino Niederreiter scored two goals, the second of which was the OT winner. Niederreiter became the third player in NHL history whose first two postseason goals came in a Game 7. (Pittsburgh’s Jiri Hrdina, 1991; New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, 2012). Elias Sports Bureau

• For Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who made one save in relief of the injured Darcy Kuemper and was credited with the victory in Game 7, the “Madhouse on Madison” has been a house of horrors. In seven starts since the 2007-08 season (all in the regular season), he is 0-5-2, with a 3.81 GAA and .873 save%. In his only start with Minnesota (Apr. 3), he allowed two goals on 26 shots in a shootout loss.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (4-2, 1.98 GAA, .935 save%) was one of three goaltenders with a goals-against average under 2.00 and save% over .930 in the first round. (Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Philadelphia’s Steve Mason were the others.). In the past two postseasons, Crawford has the most starts (29), wins (20) and goals allowed (60) of any goalie, and the second-most shots faced (889) and saves (829). Only Rask has faced more shots (946) and made more saves (890) during that span.

• The Blackhawks had the best penalty kill among all teams in the first round (27/29, 93.1%) after finishing the regular season T-10th worst in the NHL (81.4%). The Wild also improved significantly in the opening round, with the fourth-best PK efficiency (22/25, 88.0%) after posting the league’s fourth-worst PK (78.8%) during the regular season.

PHT Morning Skate: Rangers-Pens, ‘Hawks-Wild start it up

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins

There’s no rest for the weary in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Two of the four teams playing tonight got their pass to the second round on Wednesday night after Game 7 wins. The New York Rangers slipped past the Philadelphia Flyers and are rewarded with a trip to the other side of Pennsylvania to face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Out West, the Minnesota Wild needed overtime to dispose of the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 and now they head east for a date with the Chicago Blackhawks for the second consecutive season. This time around it’s in a later round of the playoffs and, oh yeah, they may not have their top goalie of the postseason. No one said the playoffs were easy.

Game 1: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Penguins getting by the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games ended up working out just fine for the team to get a little bit of rest heading into the second round. With the added time off, it gives Marc-Andre Fleury an opportunity to reset himself after a series that was a bit more exciting than he’d like.

While the schedule for this series is a bit unkind, the Penguins have to be wary of the team that’s still rolling in game mode. It might seem like the Rangers are coming in tired, but the way this schedule works out it’s no different than how tight the regular season schedule was.

Each team is 2-1-1 against the other this season and there’s pressure on guys on both sides.

For the Rangers it’s on Rick Nash to pick things up. Nash had no goals and four assists against the Flyers and getting him to pot a goal in this series would get a big monkey off his back. In 23 career playoff games he has just two goals.

You could say there’s pressure on Sidney Crosby to score, but with how he’s played in the postseason it’s just a matter of time. The focus, instead, is on Fleury. There’s always pressure on goalies in the postseason, but with him it’s at a higher level. That may not be fair, but it’s just how it is.

Game 1: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

Perhaps the most curious stat between these two teams this season is the head-to-head record. Minnesota went 3-1-1 against Chicago this season and despite the difference in record, the final three games they played were one-goal games.

Of course in the playoffs you can throw out what happened in the regular season as situations have changed. The Wild may be down three goalies as this round starts as Darcy Kuemper left Game 7 against Colorado with an injury. They’re already without Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding and that puts Ilya Bryzgalov firmly in the spotlight if Kuemper can’t go.

Facing a Blackhawks team that found their mojo beating the St. Louis Blues in six games with your No. 4 goalie doesn’t sound like a plan for success. Chicago got great performances from all their top players. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Marian Hossa were all at their best against the Blues and if that continues into this round, Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin will have their hands full.

The pressure of containing all those guys shifts to the forwards as well meaning Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise’s ability to defend will be tested. The Wild will need to see more out of Jason Pominville and hope rookies Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle continue to do what they showed against the Avalanche.