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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(updated) San Jose Sharks 5, Wild 2; Wild gives up franchise-record four power-play goals

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: January 31, 2010 - 1:05 PM

Sunday morning update: Just jumping on before my flight to Salt Lake City. Slow news day in the NHL, eh?

You can always count on Edina's Brian Burke to rattle the cages. His face on HNIC last night after Sedin made it 4-3 told the story of his anger.

Just a quick Wild update: It's about to make a splash, too. Wade Dubielewicz will be reassigned today -- per impeccable sources

Here's some daily correx's: Aeros play Abbotsford Monday, not Peoria. And in my game notebook, while Tommy Thompson did mention and talk about Troy Hesketh, to clarify, the Wisconsin-bound defenseman was drafted by Edmonton last June.

I meant to mention last night, if you DVRed/Tivoed/good ole fashioned VCRed the game last night, watch Owen Nolan's shiftsone by one. Hard to work any harder each and every moment he was on the ice. I know I've been gushing about his play lately, but man, he's a guy to follow. If the Wild gets into the playoffs and hangs on to him, you know at least one player who plans to show up.

OK, wheels up soon. Talk to you Monday.

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This is one of those games that if you just saw the score, you'd have no way of knowing how well the Wild actually played -- at even-strength at least.

The penalty kill, on the other hand, struggled just a tad against the top team in the NHL. The Wild, which actually had a pair of one-goal leads on power-play goals of their own, gave up a franchise record four power-play goals on seven San Jose opportunities.

Say what you want about the calls -- some were questionable both ways, and quite frankly, the Wild had three chances to either regain a one-goal lead or score the tying goal, so no complaining! -- but the Wild's penalty kill was sponge-like all night.

The two biggest mistakes? One by Kim Johnsson on young Jason Demers' second tying goal. Johnsson called off a rimaround by Josh Harding. Harding handed it off, Johnsson got pinned on the forecheck and then sent a clearing attempt up the middle to Demers for the goal to make it 2-2.

Then, after Evgeni Nabokov made a string of huge saves to keep it 2-2 in the second, a Marek Zidlicky slash led to San Jose's fourth power play. Brent Burns attacked the rush instead of waiting for it and got caught flat-footed and off-balance at the blue line as Joe Pavelski, the former Wisconsin star, sped by him en route to a 3-2 lead and eventual winner with 3:03 left in the second.

The game was 3-2 until 6:46 left in the third, and that Patrick Marleau goal -- the first of two -- took the life out of the Wild, which battled all night.

So obviously, like the loss here in October, it's a frustrating defeat because the score looks one-sided and it wasn't. The Wild skated right with San Jose, took 38 shots, had great chances. In fact, this was one of the most exciting hockey games I've covered this year. It was fast, up-and-down, great puck movement, lots of turnovers, which in my opinion, always makes for fun hockey because that leads to a lot of chances.

Just a fun game for the always passionate soldout Sharks faithful, but a painful loss for the Wild because everybody right above the Wild who played tonight won -- Calgary, LA , Phoenix, Nashville. So the Wild fell four points behind now eighth-place Calgary and heads to Dallas, where it hasn't won at in almost seven years.

The Wild spent the night here in San Jose and will fly to Dallas on Sunday morning. It won't practice, and I don't land in Dallas until 8:50 p.m., so unless there's news, you won't hear from me again until Monday.

I'll blog after Monday's practice -- on my drive to Houston. I know you can't text in most states anymore while driving, but I don't know if there's a law about blogging. Anyhow, at least my plan now is to go watch my first-ever Aeros game (in Houston) against Peoria. Houston, by the way, rallied from 4-0 down tonight to beat Peoria in a shootout.

Good night good people. I'm out.

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