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 Spurgeon, Scandella, but rally to beat Calgary in a shootout

Posted by: Michael Russo under Vikings draft, Wild game coverage Updated: March 23, 2012 - 12:01 AM

After looking like it didn’t belong on the same ice with the Calgary Flames in the first period, the Wild put together an impressive rally tonight to come back from 2-0 down to beat Calgary in a shootout.
Read the game story for all the details, but Jared Spurgeon suffered a possible concussion when he took an elbow to the head from Alex Tanguay 7:57 into the game. We’ll see if the NHL decides to punish Tanguay for the blatant elbow.
Spurgeon played one shift after the hit to the head and then was lost for good.
Then, with five minutes left, Marco Scandella, who was playing tremendously to this point, went down to block a Matt Stajan shot. I can’t tell on the replay if it got him on the upper leg or midsection or arm. But he’ll get x-rays and the Wild will learn the severity, coach Mike Yeo said.
The Wild has Kurtis Foster waiting in the wings, but depending on Scandella, it may have to call up another defenseman (Tyler Cuma?). Also, Steve Kampfer hurt his foot late in the game. He did return, but we’ll see how he’s doing Friday.
But at one point in the final five minutes, the Wild was down to three defensemen and forward Matt Cullen had to play defense. Read the notebook for that story on www.startribune.com/wild. Some good quotes.
Early in the game on a long 3-on-5 disadvantage, the Wild was also down to 3 D with Nate Prosser in the box for catching a puck and throwing out of the zone and Tom Gilbert in the box for a double-minor for high-sticking Olli Jokinen. Remember, Spurgeon was gone, too.
Anton Babchuk made it 2-0, but despite the long disadvantages, the Wild and Josh Harding kept the deficit to two. That was huge because the fourth line of the Wild – Warren Peters, Jed Ortmeyer and Stephane Veilleux – were credited by the entire team afterward for turning the entire game. Some big offensive zone shifts drew two penalties, including the one where Dany Heatley scored to make it 2-1. All five Wild skaters touched the puck on the goal. Cullen to Gilbert to Koivu to Cullen to Setoguchi to Heatley. First goal in nine games.
The Wild, which outshot Calgary 26-12 the final 45 minutes, took over, held Calgary to three third-period shots and none in overtime and finally tied it on Darroll Powe’s first goal in 27 games.
In the shootout, Devin Setoguchi, who fell in Montreal (the worst place to do that because he became a media darling), scored on a lethal shot. He is 2 for 2 in shootouts and 1 for 1 on a penalty shot since falling.
Brent Sutter? With the Flames battling for their playoff lives, he didn’t choose Iginla or Tanguay or Jokinen or Glencross. No, he chose Stajan, Stempniak, Jones and Comeau. Harding was 4 for 4 after making 27 saves through overtime as the Wild won its second in a row.
Sutter was red-faced after the game, pacing, kicked a garbage can and got into a loud conversation with GM Jay Feaster.
Yeo was raved about the fourth line, Cullen’s versatility, Gilbert’s 31 minutes of ice time and the play of Mikko Koivu.
“When we’re down 2-0 and we’ve been in that situation a few too many times recently, there was a different feeling on the bench, and that started with [Koivu] getting guys going and bringing the emotion level back with our team,” Yeo said.
A lousy start turned into a heck of a game at the end.
Kent Youngblood is covering practice Friday as I work on my Sunday Insider, then get on a plane for Buffalo. My Sunday Insider will be on the NHL draft and what the Wild’s thoughts are on the draft coming up in June.
By winning today, the Wild went from the fourth-worst to the sixth-worst. Remember, only bottom-five can get the No. 1 pick.

In my second-edition notebook, I had to cut this from the DaCosta note, and here's one extra:

Wild winger Stephane Veilleux met DaCosta after being drafted as a 19-year-old in 2001.
“Sometimes on the outside, I don’t know if gets much notice how trainers are like teammates,” Veilleux, now 30, said. “He’s a great individual and he makes everyone feel good about ourselves in the locker room with the fun we have, the jokes and the fact we know we’re taken care of with our equipment. He’s a very important person to this team.”

Prospect Nick Seeler, a defenseman drafted by the Wild in the fifth round in 2011 after winning a state title with Eden Prairie, practiced at Xcel Energy Center and attended Thursday’s game. Seeler plays for the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, who were on their way for a weekend series in Fargo. Seeler, who plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the fall, has nine points in 17 games since being traded from Muskegon Feb. 1.


 

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