Jerry Lai- USA Today Sports
The Minnesota Wild dressed seven goalies this season and at least five of those goalies have played one game.
It is a similar situation to what happened to the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2009-10 season. The Flyers went to the Stanley Cup Finals that year and lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild are playing the Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs this season.
Niklas Backstrom was the starter for the Wild in the beginning of the season, but then had surgery for an abdominal injury he suffered. He played in 19 games, had a 3.02 GAA, .889 save percentage, and was 5-11-2 before the season ending surgery. Ray Emery was slated to be the Flyers starter in 2010, but battled a hip injury and eventually had his own season ending surgery. Emery played in 29 games and had a 16-11-1 record. He had three shutouts, a .905 save percentage, and a 2.64 GAA.
When Backstrom went down, the Wild called on backup Josh Harding to take over in the net. Harding played in 29 games and was 18-7-3. He had a 1.65 GAA, a 9.33 save percentage and three shutouts. Harding then missed the final 44 games of the season due to an illness.
The Flyers had to go out and claim Michael Leighton off of waivers to backup Brian Boucher, but Leighton eventually won the starting job. Leighton was 16-5-2 with one shutout in 27 games. He had a .918 save percentage and a 2.48 GAA.
Darcy Kuemper and Ilya Bryzgalov split time down the stretch. At the trading deadline, the Wild acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from the Edmonton Oilers. Kuemper and Bryzgalov led the Wild to the playoffs. Kuemper played in 26 games and had two shutouts. He had a record of 12-8-4 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.43GAA down the stretch. Bryzgalov played in 12 games and was 7-1-3 with three shutouts and a .911 save percentage.
Brian Boucher took over after Leighton was injured and out for the rest of the regular season. He played in 33 games and was 9-18-3 with one shutout. He finished with a .899 save percentage and a 2.76 GAA. Boucher led the Flyers to a shootout win in the final game of the season against the New York Rangers to get into the playoffs in 2010.
John Curry also played in two games for the Wild this season. He was 1-0-0 with a .930 save percentage and a 3.00 GAA. He started one game and came in as a backup in another. The Flyers used Johan Backlund in one game and Jeremy Duchesne came in as the backup late in the season. Backlund was 0-1-0 with a .917 save percentage and a 3.00 GAA, while Duchesne wasn’t the goaltender of record and allowed one goal on four shots.
Kuemper was named the starting goalie for the first round of the playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche, but was injured in game seven. Bryzgalov came in relief, made one save, and got the win in overtime. Bryzgalov has started all three games in the second round against the Blackhawks.
Boucher started the 2010 playoffs in net and helped lead the Flyers past the New Jersey Devils in five games. Boucher and the Flyers then went down 0-3 in their series with the Boston Bruins. In game five of that series, Boucher left the game with an injured knee and Leighton came in to replace him.
The Flyers wound up riding Leighton to a 4-3 series comeback over Boston and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they eventually lost to the Blackhawks in six games. The Flyers lost the first two games of that series but then came back to win the next two at home.
The Wild lost the first two games to the Blackhawks in the second round of this year’s playoffs but have come back to win game three.
Will the Wild suffer a different fate than the Flyers? Only time will tell.