Souhan: Kane's brilliance trumps Wild's goalie du jour

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 3, 2014 - 7:03 AM

As Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon and Blackhawks center Michal Handzus piled up in the crease, the puck sat under and out of the view of Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.


CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– The Wild scored two third-period goals and was tied with the defending champions at the United Center when Patrick Kane picked up the puck and skated through what seemed like a dozen defenders.

Kane neared the net. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov dropped in anticipation of a low shot. Kane lifted an almost-vertical backhand over Bryzgalov’s left shoulder for the go-ahead goal in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 victory in Game 1 on Friday night.

Kane’s brilliant move will be remembered because Bryzgalov made it possible, leaving Kane a target the size of the Stanley Cup. Bryzgalov looked erratic all night, but ever since Niklas Backstrom got hurt during warmups in the first game of the first-round series between these teams last year, the Wild can tally a moral victory whenever the goalie named the starter in the morning makes it through the end of that night’s game.

Bryzgalov, the latest personification of desperation in the Wild net, remained ambulatory throughout. In terms of man hours worked without an injury, he might be close to setting some kind of team record for the season.

Five goalies have won games for the Wild this season. Seven have been on the roster. Most playoff teams expect to get 60 or more games out of their starting goalie. The Wild didn’t have a goalie play 30.

Friday night at the United Center, Bryzgalov got the start and journeyman John Curry served as backup.

Wild forward Dany Heatley has played in the NHL since 2001. Has he ever seen five goalies play for a playoff team in one season? “Never,” he said. “It’s been crazy, but I think everyone will tell you every guy who has come in and started or backed up for us has done a great job.”

Friday, Bryzgalov did not, but unlike in the Wild’s previous game, a scrambling of three goalies proved unnecessary.

Curry, signed as emergency depth this season, was on the bench as a third goalie during Game 7 of the Wild’s first-round playoff against Colorado. When Darcy Kuemper left because of an apparent concussion, three goalies who did not begin the season in the NHL moved in different directions.

Bryzgalov entered the game cold. While team physicians examined Kuemper, equipment trainers dumped out Curry’s already-packed bag of goalie armor and began slapping it on him as if he were a 14th-century jouster.

When the Wild won, Curry joined in the celebration. “They looked at me like, ‘Where’d you come from?’ ” he said.

That might not be the first time that question was asked this season.

Here are the suspected whereabouts of Wild goalies:

• Niklas Backstrom, who began the season as the Wild’s starter, is thought to be in Finland.

• Josh Harding, who took over as starter when Backstrom was injured early in the season but missed the second half of the season because of complications from multiple sclerosis, practiced at the United Center on Friday afternoon. Wild coach Mike Yeo said it was a “long shot” that Harding would play in the series.

• Kuemper, who became the starter when Backstrom and Harding were sidelined, was seeing a doctor, presumably about a concussion, and Yeo wouldn’t say where the doctor was located.

• Prospect Johan Gustafsson is thought to be in Sweden.

• Bryzgalov, benched in Game 2 of the previous series, started.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question