Struggling goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will be in net tonight for the Flyers. Overall, Bryzgalov is 16-10-3 with a 3.07 goals-against-average and a .891 save percentage. As pedestrian as Bryzgalov’s overall numbers are, his recent numbers are horrible. He is 2-5-1 with a 3.97 GAA in his last eight games. By comparison, backup goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is 4-1-0 with a 1.81 GAA in his last five starts. Gryzgalov got a vote of confidence from head coach Peter Laviolette over the weekend that he still is the number one goaltender. In addition to the vote of confidence, Bryzgalov probably got the start tonight because he is 5-1-0 with a 1.84 GAA in his last six games against the Wild, all with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Another hot hand for the Flyers is rookie center Sean Couturier. Couturier has goals in each of his last four games and finally looks as comfortable in the offensive zone as he does in the defensive zone. Couturier’s offensive breakout comes at the perfect time for the Flyers who lost James van Riemsdyk indefinitely due to a concussion.
The Wild have also been bitten by the injury bug. It will be an uphill battle for the Wild to stay competitive as they lost their All-Star forward Mikko Koivu. Koivu suffered a shoulder injury in the first period on Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss in St. Louis. Koivu will be out at least the next four games and most likely until after the All-Star break. Starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom is expected to be in net tonight for the Wild. He is 12-11-4 with a 2.39 GAA and .923 save percentage overall this year. But he is 1-3-0 with a 3.72 GAA in four career starts against the Flyers and 1-5-0 with a 3.54 GAA over his last six games this season.
Puck drops at 7:00 pm at the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be seen on Comcast Sportnet and heard on 94.1 WIP.
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