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Bryzgalov blanks Jets, brings Wild within point of clinching playoff spot

Apr 7, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

The way things are going, a goaltending battle that could have been a tough call for the Minnesota Wild might be, well, a breeze.

The Wild are now just one point short of clinching a spot in the playoffs after beating the Winnipeg Jets 1-0 on Monday. The bigger story might just be the emergence of a guy serenaded by Jets fans: Ilya Bryzgalov.

(Don’t lie, you have to be at least half-excited to find out what kind of weird things he might say in the playoffs.)

Anyway, Bryzgalov continues to be a quick study in the Wild net, as he now has a two-game shutout streak going; the Russian-born netminder hasn’t allowed a goal in 142:15 of game time, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

The 33-year-old is 6-0-3 with three shutouts, a .929 save percentage and 1.67 GAA with the Wild. (Not bad for a guy who went 5-8-5 with shaky numbers during his time in Edmonton.)

While the Wild may very well be finding answers in net, the Jets’ goaltending questions seem to go even deeper. Michael Hutchinson didn’t light the world on fire in a loss, yet he did stop 16 out of 17 shots against Minnesota.

As far as the Jets’ splashier bit of drama goes, Evander Kane seemed to get back into the groove, receiving more than 19 minutes of ice time after Sunday’s healthy scratch. Will that silence all questions going into an uncertain offseason? Probably not.

Bryzgalov likely knows where Kane is coming from when it comes to ups and downs along with media drama, even if each player may paint that picture differently.

Related: Could this be it for Bryzgalov?

  1. vstar1us - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    Nice win, let’s go Wild….

  2. hardkor07mn - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    A hot goalie can take you a long way in the playoffs. Go WILD!!!!

  3. blomfeld - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    WELL AT LEAST HE HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR …

    Unlike Ovechkin who wallows in his own pathetic ‘self-perceived’ greatness & grandeur, a guy like Bryzgalov carries a ‘self-deprecating’ sense of humor which is something I like and respect … especially when you’re the ‘real’ deal. The bottom line is that the Wild and Coyotes are ‘in’ … while the Stars, Predators and arsonists are ‘out’ …

    • lordfletcher - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      You had me up till the yotes part.

  4. hockeyfan28 - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    Watch Bryz go nuts in the playoffs and take the Wild to the Finals it usually happens when players leave Philly for management reasons…. Sharp….Carter….Richards….Recchi….Williams….Carcillo….Brindamour…..Bryz? geez

  5. clarke16 - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Crunch time of the season hit and the Wild have shown the progress they have made in the last season by reaching down and grabbing a big ol’ handful of kick azz! Character. I guess that means the coach should be fired, eh? LOL. #ignorant Learn and grow into better fans right along with the team, purple one’s… ;)

    • getadealdonealready - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      I was with you till the hashtag, unless you are 16 or are on twitter there is no need. In general a little more harsh than needed, but you are correct this fan base is starting to show it’s purple colors, they change every time the wind blows. The same people who were on the edge of the bridge ready to jump last week, are now screaming about playing in the finals. Nothing has changed, this still is a talented roster, that has overcome some adversity (every team needs to), but is undersized for the teams it will have to beat in the playoff’s. I’m glad Bryz is playing well, while I’m not convinced he is the long term solution, it will be nice to enter playoff’s with a goalie that is playing well, not a guy who is just coming back from battling MS, and thrown into a game because of injury. I think Josh played well last year, but the situation he was put in was tough. A few more pieces and this team should be a contender for the next 3-5 years depending on the health of their big guns.

      • clarke16 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        There are obviously exceptions–but in general the Minnesota fan base deserves their well-established *fair-weather fan* moniker. My favorite was a Vikings playoff game a few years ago… All week you saw nothing but the viking window flags flying high and proud out of every mini-van that went by. After the game, I’m walking to my car and practically every parking lot puddle had said window flags ground into the mud/slush… LOL.

        These boards are the same way generally. Quick to judge–slow to understand. Very little ability to assess things on the big picture. This is a team that is legitimately on the upswing–like never before in the history of the organization. Two men are primarily responsible for that: Chuck Fletcher and Mike Yeo. They’re both A-players who shine most when the clouds gather overhead–and that’s right when this fan base is whining for it all to be blown up. It’s amusing–but then again, I’m a bit twisted… :)

  6. jwalsh217 - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    his play has been out of this universe

    • strictlythedanks - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      humungous big saves

  7. rgledz - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    I love Bryz on this team. Gives them a whole different feel. I don’t know how possible it is, but I hope he’s in a Wild uniform next season. I wish Harding the very best, but if he can’t play next year I would have Kuemper play everyday in the AHL and let Backs back up Bryz. Just a thought.

  8. wildfan247 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:35 AM

    Personally, I don’t think Backstrom will be back next year, not with the injuries piling up. If Harding’s healthy it will be Harding and then Kuemper. If not, I’m betting Martin Brodeur will sign a 2 year deal, with Kuemper backing up. I’d be surprised if Bryz is back next year.

    • getadealdonealready - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      With both Backs and Harding under contract for next year your scenario’s don’t seem likely. Like it or not my guess is at least one of them are back in a wild uniform, that with Kuemper, and a good young goalie in the minors, doesn’t seem to leave much of a window for either Bryz or Marty, enjoy Bryz’s run right now, as I’m not she he is the type of guy you want to bank on for an entire season.

  9. greej1938l - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Wildfan. I disagree 100%. You’re just guessing bra

  10. hockeydon10 - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Ya know, at one time it was the goalies that were all this sort of half-insane members of the team. Quirky was the polite way to say it. The sort of guy where one never knew what he was going to do or say.

    It used to be that the players on the team would just let the goalie do whatever strange behavior he wanted as long as he was stopping pucks.

    Today the expectation has changed to one where the goalie is expected to be just another normal guy on the team. One that takes interviews and gives the same old bland answers everyone expects from athletes these days.

    Bryz seems like a throwback “insane goalie” where one never knows what he’s going to say. It’s certainly more amusing than the safe, boring stuff must guys say.

  11. entitymn - Apr 8, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    With the success that Kuemper and Bryz have had this season, I think we have seen how important the play of the guys in front of your netminder is. They have been excellent, but they have had a lot of help. Hope it all adds up to some playoff success!

  12. c9castine - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    i wonder if anybody still wants to argue with me about how bad ilya bryzgalov is.

    hes an NHL starter, always was. Just because Philly sucked last year doesnt mean it was Bryzgalov’s fault.

  13. kastout11 - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    I have been a lifelong Flyers fan and really thought that Bryzy was the answer when they signed him, but obviously it did not turn out that way. I always liked Bryzy, but unfortunately for the Wild, I don’t think his spectacular play will last. Although, with a good defense, it helps make the job for the goalie a heck of a lot easier. I’ve seen stranger things that Bryzy possibly leading the Wild to the Cup, but in the Western Conference, I don’t see it happening. The West is stacked, I am glad Philly is in the East. The only team in the East that I cannot see Philly beating in a 7 game series is Boston.

  14. luvmnsports2012 - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Hey getadealdonealready, your an idiot! Shut your mouth dummy!

    • tved12 - Apr 8, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      Wow, way to make MN Sports fans look bad. Change your name please, or go somewhere else. Maybe try to contribute to the forums instead of acting like an 11 year old.

      Also, please elaborate, why is he a “dummy”? What about either of his comments did you not agree with?

    • clarke16 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      I’m disappointed in you, son… You apologize right now or your mother/I will be putting the b*tch lockdown on the PlayStation again for the next month…

  15. nicofthenorthstar - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    You nailed it hockeydon. Bryz is an old school nut job, i.e. a well-qualified NHL net minder. Gotta love it.
    Plus he’s got a magic mask. Since he donned that thing, not a single puck has gotten past it.

  16. clarke16 - Apr 8, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Love me some Bryz! Most people are too insecure to just put it out there and be free to be themselves. They therefore see someone like Bryz–and it makes them feel inadequate and ashamed to have punched themselves into their tight little box. Next thing you know–Bryz is a *head case* It’d be amusing if it wasn’t so sad…

    I’m guessing with every game Bryz plays–the chances of him being re-signed for two years and Backy being moved/bought out–increases substantially. They both won’t be there… Keumper is a lock. Harding is becoming a more and more distant possibility the longer he is out…and that leaves only one sure spot open.

    I’d go long Brygalov… He’s having a blast and reportedly has meshed in the room beautifully–undoubtedly why he’s been playing back to form. See how that works? ;)

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