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 loses fifth straight at home

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild game coverage Updated: March 17, 2012 - 5:41 PM

 The Xcel Energy Center has not been kind to Minnesota hockey teams this weekend. Friday night North Dakota scored the final six goals in a 6-3 victory over the Gophers. This afternoon Carolina scored the final four goals in a 5-3 victory over the Wild. 

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I covered the game today. Mr. Russo will return tomorrow.

Keep this in mind, Wild fans looking for a silver lining: this loss kept the Wild among the bottom five in the league, which means being in position for a chance at the top draft pick this summer.

But, more immediately? This was a tough, tough loss. Afterward coach Mike Yeo, trying to find ways to describe his frustration, said, "We're in hell."

The Wild actually played very well for most of two periods, then a flip switched and the team stopped working. No wonder Yeo is frustrated. 

Here are some impressions from this matinee:

--Kyle Brodziak had his first three-point game of the season and he is heating up of late. He has already set a career high in goals (18) and has matched last season's output with 37 points.

--Another silver lining: Nick Johnson scoring for the first time in 23 games.

--Rookie goaltender Matt Hackett, I felt, fought the puck for much of the game. He made 29 saves, but he also allowed a boatload of rebounds. I think the experience he gains here will be invaluable for him going forward. But I'm not convinced he's ready for this level yet. Just my opinion.

--What is it with teams getting odd-man rushes against the Wild? It happened again in the third period today, when the Wild forwards watched as a 2-on-3 Carolina rush turned into a near-breakaway and Brandon Sutter's game-tying goal.

It won't get any easier Monday against Vancouver. 


That's about it for now. Have a good rest of your weekend.


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