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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Setoguchi comes up big in OT

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 9, 2013 - 11:50 PM

 

Devin Setoguchi escaped from Mike Yeo’s doghouse Saturday night with a second-line role again and even a big-moment power-play cameo late in overtime.
 
Like Setoguchi often does in OT, he came through with a power-play tally (off a questionable call, see below on that) to lift the Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators. Setoguchi passed across the slot to Mikko Koivu and said he knew right away he’d get it back. He set up in the circle, prepared for a one-timer and let her rip for his first goal after 11 very long games this season.
 
For Setoguchi, it was his second career regular-season overtime (he also scored vs. Detroit last season with the Wild). But this is a guy who scored three career playoff overtime winners for San Jose.
 
Read the game story and Setoguchi notebook on www.startribune.com/wild for most the details and quotes, but he gave props to Mike Yeo for putting him out in overtime after playing the last two games on the fourth line. He also gave props to the penalty kill and Niklas Backstrom for bailing him out on an unlucky four-minute high-sticking penalty in the third period. Off a faceoff, Setoguchi was basically interfered with by Shea Weber. Setoguchi’s stick rode up Weber’s and Scott Hannan, whom I keep forgetting is still in the league, was high-sticked and cut under his right eye.
 
Backstrom, pulled Thursday against Vancouver, made seven of his 25 saves in the sequence. He is now 19-2-4 all-time in games after being pulled, posting a 1.94 goals against average and .932 save percentage. Since March 26, 2008, he is 15-0-2 with a 1.74 GAA and .940 SP in those games.
 
Pretty good recovery by Backstrom. He still had a little trouble with some rebounds and swallowing pucks, but overall, he came up huge when the Wild most needed him.
 
A lot of great games from several on the Wild tonight. The defensemen were real good, including Ryan Suter, who had two assists. But I thought the unsung guys – Justin Falk, Clayton Stoner, Nate Prosser – were outstanding. Prosser didn’t miss a beat from being scratched in six in a row.
 
Defensively, the Wild was stellar. It only allowed 13 shots at the point Setoguchi took the four minutes in penalties starting at 6:18 of the third.
 
The penalty kill killed off six minors, including another high-stick to Tom Gilbert a few minutes after Setoguchi’s.
 
Guys like Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cullen – huge, especially on the PK. Cal Clutterbuck also scored the tying goal in the second.
 
The shift began when Clutterbuck hustled in on the forecheck. As he attempted to check defenseman Roman Josi, the two collided and Clutterbuck crashed violently into the boards back-first.
 
No worries. Clutterbuck rose to his feet, brushed it off and skated to the front of the net. Cullen sent the puck up top for Suter, who delayed, then wristed a shot that Clutterbuck tipped through Mason’s pads for his second goal.
 
Koivu had five shots and won 17 of 24 draws. Zach Parise had seven shots. Even Mikael Granlund was physical, at one point getting into a board battle with big, bad Shea Weber.
 
The Setoguchi power-play goal came off a controversial call by linesman Ryan Galloway. Paul Gaustad was called for directing the puck with his hand after a faceoff in overtime. It’s hard to tell on replay if it was intentional, but the puck was popped in the air and fell over his hand, so this wasn’t the type of play the rule was really supposed to go after. It was supposed to go after what Zenon Konopka used to do – intentionally holding a stick and directing a puck with his hand after a faceoff.
 
Here is Preds coach Barry Trotz on the call: “Yeah, I was part of the rules, sort of committee that was looking at amending the face off rule this year, and all the examples …  the rule states you can’t win a face off with your hand, and everything that we talked about was tying someone up, and winning it with your free hand and pushing it back, OK, and if you look at it closely, the whole intent, the puck’s, it’s a bad drop, it’s three feet, it goes three bounces three feet in the air, lands on top of his hand, he swipes it, it’s a natural reaction. That’s not the intent of that rule. I’ve been a part of that committee. To make a call like that, I’m going to need an explanation, but to me that was not the intent of a face off rule when there’s a bad drop bouncing three feet in the air, and he has two hands on his stick, it’s not like he’s using his free hand, so, you know, I’m going to get an explanation from the league, for me it was a poor call and a real questionable call in a very important time of the game. I mean c’mon. I don’t agree with that at all.”
Anyway, that’s it for me. I’m flying to Calgary on Sunday. Kent Youngblood has practice and will blog.

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Here is my Sunday Insider on the Roberto Luongo situation. There is also an update on realignment in there.

I also have a Dwayne Roloson and Mark Parrish update in my Setoguchi notebook on www.startribune.com/wild. The Parrish note is fun. His wife, Nicholle, will be on Family Feud at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the CW Network.

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