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 gets used, abused, yet steals point from Red Wings

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: October 15, 2011 - 10:57 PM

Easy night for the ice crew here at the X.

They only had to Zamboni the Wild's defensive zone during intermissions. Of course, it took about 7 layers of water.

The Wild, after building a 2-0 lead, spent the night running aimlessly around its own zone in remarkable fashion as the mighty Detroit Red Wings put on a clinic of keep-the-puck like the mighty Detroit Red Wings usually do to most teams.

Only Josh Harding -- starting for the first time in 568 days -- kept the Wild from completely crumbling by stealing the Wild a point in a 3-2 overtime loss. Johan Franzen got the winner with 49 seconds left on a 4-on-3 power play after a fairly dubious tripping penalty on Matt Cullen.

But Cullen took responsibility, and nobody in that Wild locker room had the nerve to publicly question officiating when it spent the night getting worked.

Point stolen, and the good news is the Wild does have points in 5 of 6 games (2-1-2).

That's the lone good news after tonight. Well, that and the fact Josh Harding didn't need to be hospitalized.

Thirty-eight saves for Harding.

After building that 2-0 lead on goals by Greg Zanon (yes, Greg Zanon) and Cal Clutterbuck, the Wild seemed to still be OK for a few minutes. That was until a momentum-dousing power play. From that point on, it was all Detroit.

The Wild couldn't break out, couldn't get through the neutral zone, poorly placed pucks on their dump-ins and didn't work to get back when the Red Wings easily beat the trap.

Coach Mike Yeo said it by far the worst game system-wise by his team. The Wild ran around the defensive zone, turned pucks over and just got grinded out. It couldn't do one iota of something good in the third period..

"We've got a ways to go," said Yeo.

The first line was all but invisible tonight, and sadly, the Wild wasted some great efforts by guys like Colton Gillies, who was throwing his weight around, knocking Red Wings players off pucks and creating chances.

The Wild probably could have gotten Sunday off with a big win. Instead, Yeo will put them to work in a very important practice day in preparation for Pittsburgh coming to town Tuesday.

Talk to you Sunday.

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