During the second intermission of Wednesday’s home game against the Phoenix Coyotes, captain Mikko Koivu made something clear to coach Mike Yeo.
“In no uncertain terms, he basically said [his line was] going ‘to take over this game,’ ” Yeo said. “When that happens, you let them go ahead and do it.”
The Koivu line, book-ended by Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle, responded by helping set up Ryan Suter’s last-minute tying goal before Koivu, almost with pure will, scored his third career overtime winner to cap a near-24-minute night.
Koivu was again dominant in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win over Los Angeles. He had two more assists to give him a team-leading 33 points in 34 games and 19 points in the past 14. He is plus-11 in the past 11 games.
In terms of a complete game, Koivu arguably has never played better.
“I think he is playing like a superstar right now,” Yeo said before the game.
Yeo talked about Koivu’s scoring, and then said, “Add on top of that everything else he does, all the other parts of his game, I think he’s playing like an absolute superstar right now.
“He’s just doing everything he can to help our team win. Every shift and every night, it could be something different, whether it’s penalty kill, defensively or offensively,” Yeo said.
“And most nights it’s a combination of all of them.”
Clark gets in
It had been 18 days since veteran defenseman Brett Clark signed with the Wild, but Saturday night, the 36-year-old made his long-anticipated Wild debut.
“I had a blast out there,” he said.
Clark has played 682 games for four teams. After he was signed to add depth, the Wild won seven in a row, so Yeo was hesitant to mess with a winning lineup.
But Clark had a strong game Saturday.
“As the game went on, he got stronger,” Yeo said. “You could really see what he can add — his poise, his execution … I was very impressed.”
Justin Falk was a healthy scratch for the first time since March 3.
Wild center Zenon Konopka’s 34-year-old sister, Cynthia, sang the national anthem Saturday. A music teacher who studies opera, Cynthia Konopka also has sung the anthem in two of her brother’s previous stops, Tampa and Ottawa.
“She’s got the talent and the looks in the family. I got the rest,” Zenon Konopka said. “That’s what my nose used to look like.”
In Friday’s 5-3 loss at Dallas, Konopka and Mike Rupp were each given a misconduct and Konopka a double minor for trying to deposit Stars youngster Reilly Smith in the Wild bench.
“I was just trying to finish my check and the bench seemed to get in the way,” Konopka said, grinning. “I always learned at a young, young age that you’re supposed to finish your checks and keep moving your feet. It then kind of escalated.
“We don’t like losing. If we’re going to lose, we’re going to go down with a fight. And we did that. Now it’s over.”
• The Wild’s third line of Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Brodziak and Dany Heatley is a combined minus-30 (Brodziak and Heatley, minus-12 each).
Earlier this week, Yeo said, “Overall I don’t think it’s as bad as the numbers indicate. We’re using those guys in a lot of defensive zone faceoffs against a lot of top lines. They haven’t been scoring that much 5-on-5, and when that happens, minuses are going to accumulate eventually.
“Hopefully the puck will start going in.”
• With no lineup changes planned at forward Saturday, the Wild didn’t recall an extra forward when it assigned goalie Darcy Kuemper to Houston. Torrey Mitchell was suddenly unavailable because of illness.
Since it did not call up a forward, the Wild dressed a seventh defenseman, Nate Prosser, who played forward.