Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Phoenix Coyotes 3, Wild 2

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: November 18, 2009 - 11:33 PM

I'll be honest. I don't feel like blogging, so don't expect a good one. I've been here since 10 a.m. I want out.

What's there to say? Wild comes out with another ridiculously terrible start, falls behind because of a terrible call, somehow rallies twice for tying goals and then serves up the losing goal 19 seconds after Antti Miettinen ties it.

PA announcer Adam Abrams didn't even get a chance to finish calling Miettinen's goal before Scottie Upshall silenced everybody.

It looked like Niklas Backstrom served up a bad rebound, but he felt he controlled it well to the corner. But Upshall got by Marek Zidlicky and popped in the rebound.

This is a terrible habit by the Wild -- letdowns after goals. As Backstrom reminded, even after Andrew Brunette tied it early in the third, Martin Hanzel from Zoolander hit the crossbar seconds later.

Wild's now 0-2-2 in its past four heading into Friday's game against John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Dwayne Roloson and the Islanders.

Todd Richards said he has to start looking at himself for the bad starts. Read the gamer for more than that.

The only line that generated anything tonight was Koivu, Miettinen and Brunette. The rest of the lines, nothing. Zip. Barely got in on the forecheck. The Coyotes also came out with a Dave Tippett-like forecheck and pinned the Wild in its own end much of the night, and much to the fans' angst. The fans were restless as the Wild tripped over itself in its own zone and on the power play routinely.

Richards addressed struggling Martin Havlat in the postgame. You can read that in the notebook. He's barely a threat these days. In the past 16 games, he's got one goal and two assists.

Brunette snapped a nine-game goal drought. Mikko Koivu had two assists and now has 143 to move into fourth in Wild history. Niklas Backstrom suffered his second loss to Phoenix. Ilya Bryzgalov won his second game against the Wild.

Danny Irmen only played seven shifts in his NHL debut. His only real chance came on a 2-on-1, but a James Sheppard pass was behind him and Irmen got handcuffed and shot it wide on his backhand.

When Radim Vrbata scored 1:24 into the second after a phantom slash on Owen Nolan (Nolan said referee Kelly Sutherland admitted he screwed up), it was the first time Phoenix led in St. Paul in 441 minutes, 24 seconds (Nov. 8, 2005, which was also the Coyotes' last win here at the X).

OK, that's it. I'll talk to you after practice Thursday.

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