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


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 11:00 AM
New York
Oklahoma City 1:30 PM
San Antonio
Cleveland 4:00 PM
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 12:30 PM
Loyola Marymount
Ohio 3:00 PM
Colorado 5:30 PM
George Washington 7:30 PM
Wichita State
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question