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Wednesday (Bryzgalov and the comforts of home) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Wild coaching Updated: May 7, 2014 - 10:42 AM

We wrote on Monday that fans needed to stop piling on Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, noting that while he hadn't won a playoff start this postseason at that point, it was also unfair to pin everything on him. For one, he hadn't started a home playoff game yet. And we needed to be realistic about expectations for someone who basically amounts to the Wild's fourth goalie this season.

Shockingly, we're not here to gloat about that after Bryz's Game 3 shutout last night. He was good in net. More confident than he has been. But he was not the reason Minnesota won that game just as much as he wasn't the reason the Wild lost the other two against Chicago. The game turned because Minnesota made plays and Chicago didn't.

That said, we do very much believe there is something to the home ice phenomenon. The last time -- the only time -- the Wild made a playoff run, Minnesota was surprisingly dreadful on its home ice. The Wild was just 1-2 at the X against both Colorado and Vancouver in 2003, then 0-2 against Anaheim for an overall 2-6 home record.

This year, of course, Minnesota is 4-0 in home playoff games and has allowed a TOTAL of three goals in those games. The first three were started by the now-injured Darcy Kuemper, with Bryz getting the call last night. Neither goalie has been overtaxed in any of those games, with Bryz needing just 19 saves -- some of them big ones, undeniably -- to get his first postseason shutout in eight years.

The Wild is taking advantage of matchups obtained by having the last line change after whistles, and on Tuesday it displayed both discipline in giving Bryz clean looks at the puck and patience while the high-flying Blackhawks played a muck-and-grind game.

Afterward, head coach Mike Yeo said he thought Bryzgalov looked more confident and aggressive. For his part, Bryz -- a classic quirky, streaky goalie -- talked about the comforts of being at home. "It's always nice to play at home," he said. "You sleep in your own bed, get in your own routine. Eat your favorite food. Obviously the fan base, it gives you support if you make a nice play ... and give you a boost. ... It creates a nice atmosphere."

We'll see if this is the start of a positive trend for Bryzgalov and a continuation of one for the Wild as a whole in Game 4.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
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Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
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Georgia 70
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Kansas State 59
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Kent State 63
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Tulane 55
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Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
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Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
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Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
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Michigan State 0 Postponed
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Utah State 56
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San Diego St 58
Nevada 62
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Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
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High Point 73
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Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60


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