CHICAGO - The Minesota Wild had three goalies on the ice for their morning skate on Friday, none of whom were rookie Darcy Kuemper, who remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered in Game 7 against the Colorado Avalanche.
Veteran Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in Game 1 for the Wild against the Chicago Blackhawks, like he did in the first round against the Avalanche before getting swapped out for Kuemper as the Minnesota goalie rotation continues moving.
“It’s been crazy,” said Wild forward Dany Heatley. “But everybody who has gone in has played well.”
Bryzgalov picked up the Game 7 win in relief of Kuemper to improve his postseason stats to 1-2 with an .826 save percentage. In 41 career playoff games with the Ducks, Coyotes and Wild, Bryzgalov is 18-21 with a .905 save percentage.
He’ll be backed up by John Curry, the 30-year-old Minnesota native who has played in six career NHL games. According to Mike Yeo, Kuemper isn’t in Chicago and continues to get checked out by team doctors.
The wildcard in this series could be Josh Harding, who is practicing with the team but is considered by Yeo a longshot to get playing time in this series. Harding hasn’t played since December 31 while battling multiple sclerosis.
“[It’s] get him on the ice and get him back to being part of the group and helping out a little bit with practice,” Yeo said. “I have to figure out exactly what the rules are, to be honest with you. I don’t even know. For me, I’m not even considering it right now. If there’s an absolute emergency or there’s a desperate situation we find ourselves in we’ll be prepared for that.”
As for Heatley, he practiced with the first power play unit, his role continuing to expand after being a healthy scratch early on this postseason. His ice time grew from 10:41 in his playoff debut in Game 3 against the Avalanche to 16:58 in the overtime finale. He had five points in the last three games of that series.
“For me, this is the most Dany Heatley that we’ve seen all year,” Yeo said. “He’s just handled things so well all year. It’s been real impressive to watch.”