The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild should be familiar with one another.
After all they did face-off five times in the regular season with the Avs skating away victorious in four of those five meetings.
However, Colorado will see a brand new masked man in the Wild's crease in game one of their Western conference playoff series. Minnesota traded for Ilya Bryzgalov in early March. He has played a pivotal role in the Wild's hot finish to the regular season going 7-1-3 in 11 games with Minnesota.
"He played really well for them down the stretch," said Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy, "I watched a few games and he made some great saves and kept their team in some games and certainly part of the reason why at the end they had that little push to make the playoffs."
Bryzgalov is one of five goalies used by Minnesota this year. Josh Harding not only was the teams main net minder but appeared ready for an elite season. He is still the league leader in goals against average and save percentage although he hasn't played since December 31st. Harding is battling multiple sclerosis and complications have him side lined. Injuries to Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper forced the team to grab Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers on March 4th.
The Avalanche beat Harding twice in the regular season and lost to him once. They were 2-0 against Backstrom. Colorado will likely face Bryzgalov all series long. The 33-year-old last played in the postseason in 2012 with the Philadelphia Flyers. They were eliminated in the conference semifinals by New Jersey.
"It doesn't matter who is going to play for them. I guess they went through a lot of goalies this year, five of them. You always have to respect who is in net," said Roy.