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article imageBryzgalov benched, Darcy Kuemper gets 1st playoff start for Wild

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 21, 2014 in Sports
Ilya Bryzgalov is 33 with 40 playoff games on his resume but Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo doesn't like what he's seen in the first two games of their series with Colorado. Yeo is benching Bryzgalov for game 3 in Minny in favor of Darcy Kuemper.
Kuemper came on in relief of Bryzgalov in game 2 against the Avalanche, giving the 23-year-old the third playoff appearance of his career. He relieved Josh Harding twice in last year's playoffs (the Wild lost to Chicago in five games in round 1 and has a 2.41 GAA and .915 save percentage with no decision in postseason play.
Bryzgalov has had playoff success with both the Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes but his playoff rep took a beating after being signed to a monster contract by the Philadelphia Flyers. He was bought out in 2013 but returned to the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers this season; Minnesota acquired him at the trade deadline.
Yeo clearly didn't like what he saw of the veteran's play in a 5-4 overtime loss (they had a 4-2 lead) in game 1 and a 4-2 loss in game 2. The Wild coach said Kuemper looks "confident" in practice. In his only game against Colorado in the regular season, Kuemper gave up four goals in 23 minutes of play.
Minnesota is also scratching Kyle Brodziak and injecting Dany Heatley into their line-up for game 3. "When you're down 2-0 in the series, quite often you're going to make some changes," Yeo said. "That's where we are at."
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