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Save of the Night: Ilya Bryzgalov (April 9)

Apr 10, 2011, 11:00 AM EST

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Ilya Bryzgalov, Dany Heatley AP

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

Perhaps it’s simply fitting that Ilya Bryzgalov made what might have been the best save of the 2010-11 campaign on the second to last evening of the regular season. After all, a significant chunk of the league’s playoff seeds weren’t decided until Saturday night and the NBC Game of the Week could rearrange the West’s bunch quite a bit still.

But enough about that big picture malarkey. Let’s face it, Breezy’s agent should make frame-by-frame posters of this save and give it the Andy Warhol treatment. It’s a work of genius — in Bryzgalov’s case, zany genius — and should be a contender for the year’s best save.

Like any great clip, it will eventually lose its context, too. What makes the save even more momentous is that Bryzgalov allowed a goal soon after and then flung his stick in anger. That showing of passion backs up the all-out effort of this save, building toward a narrative that depicts his admirable skills and quirky attitude.

It all adds up to the Save of the Night and it would be tough to imagine any other stop beating it for Save of the Week, too.

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