Tag: Ilya Bryzgalov

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Four

PHT Morning Skate: Rangers seek Game 7, Wild-‘Hawks in crucial Game 5


With a pair of games on Sunday night, there’s a chance we see someone sent home for the summer.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in New York City to face the Rangers in Game 6 and they’re hoping to do what they couldn’t in Game 5: Close out the series. To do that they’ll need a much better effort, but the Rangers are feeling good after getting the power play monkey off their back on Friday.

In Chicago, the Blackhawks are hoping to again defend home ice. After dropping both games at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, they’re hoping a return to United Center sees a return to better play. The Wild are hoping they found the key to beating the ‘Hawks in Games 3 and 4.

Game 6: New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins [Pittsburgh leads series 3-2] (7:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN)

The Rangers are feeling good after exploding for five goals in Game 5, two on the power play. Their play all playoffs long has been so bad with the man-advantage that beating Marc-Andre Fleury twice could be the kind of thing that snaps the Rangers out of the fog they’ve been in during the playoffs.

Oddly enough, the Penguins don’t need answers for Rick Nash or Martin St. Louis, but they have to find a way to keep Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot in check.

The Rangers’ third line was a menace for Pittsburgh again in Game 5 and they’ve had great opportunities all series. That puts the pressure on the Pens’ depth defenders as well as the third and fourth line. Guys like Rob Scuderi and Robert Bortuzzo could have their hands full with other assignments.

Pittsburgh will need more than Evgeni Malkin to show up in Game 6. Malkin’s great play in the Game 5 loss got lost in the shuffle. He’s been excellent in this round.

Expect Game 6 to be an emotional one for St. Louis once again as his family will be in attendance on this Mother’s Day. Keep a tissue handy.

Game 5: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild [Series tied 2-2] (9:00 p.m. ET — CNBC)

The Blackhawks may not have expected to be in a tied series in Game 5, but now they know they’re in a battle. The Wild’s strong play in Games 3 and 4 showed that they weren’t going to roll over for the defending champions.

One thing that has to get better for both teams is the goaltending. It hasn’t been a dire issue for Chicago or Minnesota, but after the defensive battle the two sides put into Game 3, seeing things go sideways in Game 4 for both Ilya Bryzgalov and Corey Crawford was a jarring site.

Expect to see Chicago’s star players have better games on home ice. Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Kane were all big in wins in Games 1 and 2. For the Wild, they’re hoping they’ve got things headed in the right direction for Zach Parise and Jason Pominville who were big factors in the past two games.

The double-secret difference maker in Game 5 for Minnesota may have been Matt Cooke. His return to action following his seven-game suspension saw him create defensive issues for the ‘Hawks best players. The Wild won’t always get to have the same match-ups on the road, but it’s clear his return was a positive for the Wild.

Blackhawks’ Toews: ‘This series is long from over’

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Four

The Chicago Blackhawks, defending Stanley Cup champions, have found themselves in a series with the Minnesota Wild. It didn’t look like that would be the case a few days ago.

The Wild, down 2-0 early on in this series, have won the last two games. That includes a 4-2 victory over the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Friday. The series now shifts back to Chicago, all tied.

“This series is long from over, so that’s the good news. We’ve got a chance to redeem ourselves and be better than we have been,” said Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews afterward, as per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Toews added: “It’s playoff hockey. It’s not supposed to be easy. There’s going to be some moments where your stomach drops.”

The Blackhawks were shut out in the third game, and kept to just two goals – Ilya Bryzgalov was sensational for Minnesota after allowing a weak goal to Patrick Sharp – in the fourth game. (Just check out this save late in the third period.)

Chicago might have the advantage in this series on paper when it comes to talent. But the Wild have been able to keep the Blackhawks’ skilled players in check, for the most part, in the past two games.

On Friday, Chicago had just 20 shots on Bryzgalov in the entire game.

“We can look in the mirror and know we can do a better job of getting to their net and creating scoring chances,” said Sharp, as per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

Wild defeat Blackhawks in Game 4, tie series 2-2

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Four

Home ice has been the advantage in this second round Western Conference series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild.

After the Blackhawks took the first two games back in Chicago, the Wild erupted for a pair of wins in Minnesota. What was once a best-of-seven series is now just a best-of-three, as it shifts back to Chicago for Game 5 on Sunday.

The Wild once again held the high-octane offensive players of the Blackhawks in check for the most part, keeping Chicago to just 21 shots on goal in a 4-2 victory in Game 4 on Friday. The series is now tied up 2-2.

Ilya Bryzgalov was front and center for Minnesota in the win. Yes, he had one of his moments when he gave up a soft goal to Patrick Sharp in the opening period. The Blackhawks’ forward beat the Wild goalie through the legs with a wrist shot from near the bottom of the faceoff circle, getting Chicago onto the board.

But he was brilliant after that.

His biggest save came off Sharp in the second period. Bryzgalov kicked out the right pad on Sharp’s breakaway chance, maintaining his team’s one-goal lead at the time.

Jared Spurgeon, with his second goal of the evening, gave the Wild a two-goal lead early in the third period.

Chicago had its chances, but it could be argued the defending Stanley Cup champs didn’t test Bryzgalov enough. Friday’s game was the fourth of this series in which the Blackhawks were held to less than 25 shots on goal.

There was a scary moment in the second period, when Chicago forward Brandon Bollig ran Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard from behind into the end glass.

Bollig was assessed a minor penalty for boarding. As per Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there was no update on Ballard following the game.

Video: Bryzgalov’s spectacular pad save denies Sharp on the breakaway

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Earlier in the evening, we brought you video of Patrick Sharp beating Ilya Bryzgalov five-hole with a wrist shot – certainly not a good goal for the Minnesota Wild goalie to give up.

Well, we now bring you this Bryzgalov save on a Sharp breakaway in the second period, as the Wild’s puck stopper threw out the right pad to deny the Blackhawks’ forward, maintaining Minnesota’s 3-2 lead at the time.

Video: Blackhawks’ Sharp beats Bryzgalov with weak, late first-period goal

Wild Jets Hockey

The Minnesota Wild appeared in good shape late in the first period, up by a goal on the Chicago Blackhawks.

That was until Patrick Sharp beat Ilya Bryzgalov through the legs with a wrist shot from near the bottom of the faceoff circle, tying Game 4 at a goal apiece with only 39 seconds remaining in the first period. It was only one of four Chicago shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes.

The Wild trail 2-1 in the series. Bryzgalov earned the shutout in Game 3. It was his first since 2006.

Now, in the interest of fairness, here is a video of the Wild’s second goal, courtesy of Jason Pominville, who, from behind the net, fired the puck off the skates of Corey Crawford and in. Minnesota took a 2-1 lead as a result.