It's been quite a season for Ilya Bryzgalov.
The veteran netminder began his year in Edmonton and has since played everywhere from the ECHL to the NHL before landing with the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline.
Bryzgalov arrived at a team that's suffered goaltender injuries for seasons now and got off to a pretty good start, going 7-1-3 in 12 games with the Wild.
But shaky performances in Games 1 and 2 against the Colorado Avalanche in Minnesota's opening-round playoff series landed Bryzgalov on the bench. Darcy Kuemper was called to play, but that only lasted until Kuemper's Game 7 injury that kept him from even making the trip to Chicago.
It was back to Bryzgalov in Game 1.
"I thought he did great," defenseman Jonathon Blum said after the Wild's 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. "Obviously you don't know how it's going to go, but he was one of our best players tonight. He was very confident in net, challenging the players around the net."
Overall, the Wild had nothing bad to say about their netminder's performance on Friday night. Bryzgalov made some good saves, especially against a team with such a dynamic offensive game.
But when it comes down to it, Bryzgalov still allowed four goals on 21 shots, and a .810 save percentage just won't cut it against a team like the Blackhawks.
Whether Kuemper returns during this second-round series remains unknown, and the Wild don't have many options besides sticking with Bryzgalov. So despite any concerns they may have with their goaltending situation, they're going to continue to stick by their current starter.
"I think he's an elite goaltender," forward Erik Haula said. "He's been through a lot, he's played well the games he's played for us. The team has full confidence in him."