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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Backstrom is in the nets tonight

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild pregame skate Updated: March 31, 2012 - 11:59 AM

 Niklas Backstrom will be in goal for the Wild tonight against the L.A. Kings. It promises to be a pretty intense game, given L.A.'s playoff drive. 

The Kings won 4-1 in Edmonton last night, with the victory pushing them to the top of the Western Conference's Pacific Division -- and the No. 3 seed in the conference overall -- one point ahead of Dallas.

Greetings. Kent Youngblood here. I'll be covering the game tonight, with Mr. Russo on the way to Chicago. He will cover Sunday's game.

But back to tonight. According to Wild coach Mike Yeo, defenseman Marco Scandella has "a bit of an upper body injury'' and won't play tonight. It does not appear serious. Scandella skated today, is being called day-to-day by Yeo and is scheduled to travel with the team to Chicago.

But that means Kurtis Foster will suit up.

 

Other items Yeo touched on this morning after an optional morning skate:

--Yeo is pleased with the way the  Wild power play -- 5-for-19 the past seven games --is performing. But he would like to see the Wild get more opportunities. The reason for the uptick in production? Yeo said the team made some changes in the way the power play was set up in the offensive end. "I think it's helping us distribute the puck a little more," Yeo said. "It's giving us threats from both sides of the ice. But, as much as anything else, the way we're set up now, i think there is a little more focus on moving the puck quickly.''

--Yeo doesn't expect fatigue to play any role in tonight's game, despite the late hour of the Kings' arrival here last night.

That's about it. Tom Gilbert will play in his 400th NHL game tonight and Cal Clutterbuck will play in his 300th.

 

I'll get back to you after the game. Have a good afternoon.

 

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