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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Wild trounced again in Vancouver

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: April 8, 2011 - 12:05 AM

Wild outscored 15-2 in three losses in this building this year. Tonight, they were just overmatched.

In a carbon copy of the first period three weeks ago, the Wild played well, couldn't score, took a couple penalties, gave up a couple power-play goals and that would be all she wrote.

Ryan Kesler scored two last month. He got three tonight. Mason Raymond, the former UMD Bulldog, celebrated his alma mater's big win with two goals. And Roberto Luongo had a 29-save shutout.

Niklas Backstrom, who looks emotionally deflated, gave up a score bad ones, was the victim of a couple rookie D in front of him on a couple others and he was finally pulled for Jose Theodore in the third. Theodore's expected to start in Edmonton still.

The Wild, beat up by injuries, was just overmatched by a team celebrating its President's Trophy. Last couple games, the Canucks clearly had the President's Trophy hangover against the Oilers. Tonight, it figured it actually better rediscover its game with the playoffs starting the middle of next week.

The Wild's locker room is a lifeless, demoralizing place to be right now. After this one, players were blank-faced, frustrated, etc. Kyle Brodziak was just staring at the ground for five minutes. This isn't fun and the offseason can't get here quick enough.

The Wild's lost 11 of 13 now. Hasn't beaten a team in a playoff spot in the West since Feb. 25.

"When it rains, it pours," said Matt Cullen. "The frustration level is pretty high. It's been a struggle."

Colton Gillies, I thought looked good again. Carson McMillan, coach Todd Richards praised.

Maxim Noreau was not good. Neither was Justin Falk. Plus, the big defenseman did absolutely nothing when Pierre-Marc Bouchard, a guy that missed 20-plus months with a concussion, got punched in the head by Jannik Hansen.

Sorry, the game means nothing, the season is over, you're trying to impress for next year. Stick up for your teammate. It was not a good moment for Falk, who is a good defenseman and made this team out of camp before he lost his game in November. But take a page from Clayton Stoner's book. He knows his role. He knows his size. He knows he has to play physical to be in the NHL.

Falk is a big defenseman too. He's got to play big if he wants to make it.

Talk to you from Edmonton. Chuck Kobasew didn't play tonight due to a family reason. He is expected to play in Edmonton though. The Wild and Canucks played 17 on 17 tonight, each short a man.

Mercifully, two more games left folks.

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