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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Big guns all show up as Wild rallies past Detroit for overtime victory

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: March 23, 2014 - 10:49 PM

As much angst as has surrounded the Wild lately, just imagine what it must be like to be the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars these days.

Imagine what it must feel like to have to chase 7th-place Minnesota when in the past nine games, the Wild has played in five 3-point games (overtimes/shootouts) and won two other games in regulation. So that’s points in seven of the past nine games (3-2-4).

Prior to a 4-3 regulation loss at Dallas, the Wild won five in a row and was 9-2-2 in a stretch of 13 games leading into the trade deadline, so we can all say what we want about the Wild, but it isn’t making it easy on the Coyotes and Stars.

Tonight, the Wild absolutely got what it deserved – a victory by a 4-3 score on Matt Moulson’s overtime winner.

Read the gamer for all the details, but the big guns all came through.

The gist of the game if you didn’t see it, and I know this may sound like a broken record, but the Wild dominated the first period, looked better than it has in weeks, put forth an aggressive forecheck, jumped out to an 8-1 shot lead and next thing you know, it’s down 2-0 by the 20-minute mark.

It had to be unbelievably dejecting for a team with so much pressure on it.

But during the first intermission, coach Mike Yeo told his players to just stick with it, to play its game, to not let frustration change that game. They didn't. Just rewatch the forechecks, sustained pressure, the net-crashing in the third period.

Jason Pominville made it 2-1 with his 27th goal with 8:03 left in the second. In the third, Charlie Coyle tied it and Zach Parise gave the Wild a 3-2 lead just 1:45 later. Tomas Tatar stole a puck from Parise, then scored a great goal with a move to the inside that fooled Ryan Suter for the tying goal, but in overtime, Coyle made an outstanding move to exit the zone and Moulson tipped Jonas Brodin’s shot for his second career winner.

Suter had two assists, as did Mikko Koivu, who won 12 of 15 faceoffs, stole the puck and put together an incredible forecheck (just watch the replay of how dominant he was on this shift, although he got away with a slash of Nik Kronwall's stick) that led to Coyle’s goal. Koivu was tremendous in the third, looking like the old Koivu on the forecheck. At stride in the neutral zone, I think he’s still laboring on that surgically-repaired ankle. But that certainly didn’t hold him back in the third.

Coyle was plus-2, had two points, scored goals in consecutive games for the first time in his career, had three shots and five hits. Moulson has four goals and four assists in 10 games with the Wild.

The Wild allowed 16 shots to the Red Wings, the second-fewest shots Detroit has had at home since 1991, according to the Wild’s PR staff. The Wild is now 8-4-3 on the road in the past 15 games, which bodes well when one considers that after Wednesday’s home game against Vancouver, the Wild hits the road for games at St. Louis, Phoenix, L.A. and Chicago.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 13 saves. By the way, not counting the shootout, I believe seven of the nine goals he has allowed in four starts with the Wild were blocker side.

Big for the Wild to actually get that extra point past regulation. This is a team that had lost its last four shootouts/overtimes.

Also impressive, the Wild had this much energy and legs in a second of a back-to-back and fifth game in seven nights.

The Wild is off Monday, so likely no blog. I grabbed a lot of leftovers postgame to write a follow.

I’ll be on KFAN at 11:45 a.m. on Monday and on KFAN from the penalty box starting at 9:55 a.m. Wednesday.

Talk to you Tuesday.

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