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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Red Wings 4, Wild 3 (shootout); Harding injures hip

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: January 21, 2010 - 11:44 PM

Another night, another almost Wild comeback.

At least this time it got a point in the standings after rallying from two goals late in the third. Amazingly, the Wild did this while not having a shot in the first 12 minutes of the third. But Martin Havlat and Andrew Brunette scored a minute apart, Brunette's with 5:12 left, to force overtime.

The Wild dominated overtime, but Jimmy Howard stopped all eight shots and then as you know, anything can happen in the shootout. Owen Nolan and Marek Zidlicky scored, six missed in an eight-round shootout. For Detroit, Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Drew Miller scored.

Josh Harding had to wait 383 days between home starts. It lasted 20 minutes. Coach Todd Richards said he sustained a left hip injury early in the first period when he stretched his left pad to stop Patrick Eaves' rebound after initially stopping Darren Helm's breakaway. Harding played the rest of the period but had to be pulled to start the second.

Niklas Backstrom came on to relieve Harding and stopped 16 of 18 shots, five in the shootout. Backstrom, who earlier in the day talked about how his game is off right now in large part because the chances against lately is weighing him down, criticized the team pointedly after the game for the chances against lately. You can read his quotes in the gamer and notebook. The quotes in the notebook were from this morning, the quote in the gamer was tonight.

There's no prognosis on how long Harding will be out. It'll be interesting to see what happens Friday. The Wild's at 23 players with Petr Sykora, so one wonder if the situation will have to get resolved Friday because I'd assume the Wild has to call up a goalie. Of course, if the injury's serious enough to keep Harding out at least one week, you could put Harding on injured reserve.

The Aeros are currently in British Columbia. However, Anton Khudobin is currently in Houston because he just returned from the AHL All-Star Game. If he's the recall, he hasn't won since November or something.

The Wild got off to another terrible start today. Outshot 11-3, two breakaways, turnovers in its own zone, no scoring chances the last 12 minutes.

The Wild has given up the first goal in 24 of the last 32 games and 8 of 10 in January. The Wild has no goals and has 16 shots in the past four first periods.

Brent Burns returned tonight. He played 13:36, looked good on the rush, and you can see how he'll again be a difference maker. He was on the ice for two goals against, but before one, he believes he touched down an ice. The linesman ruled that Kris Draper beat him out.

Niklas Backstrom is 3-0-2 in relief appearances. This was his first relief appearance since Nov. 16, 2007. In fact, if you remember, his first-ever three victories all came in relief of Manny Fernandez in comeback Wild wins.

Shane Hnidy had his first career two-point game with two assists.

Brunette scored his first goal since Jan. 2. Havlat scored his ninth goal and is third on the team with 34 points.

Robbie Earl, on waivers Wednesday, scored his fourth goal.

Kyle Brodziak has a point in five straight home games. Nick Schultz had his 13th assist, tying his career-high.

That's it from me. Brian Stensaas has practice Friday as I work on my Sunday Insider package. Talk to you again Saturday unless there's news.

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