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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Thrashers 3, Wild 2: Too many penalties

Posted by: under Wild game coverage Updated: February 12, 2010 - 11:51 PM

By Brian Stensaas

Theme of the night, right here: Derek Boogaard spent 1:08 Friday night actually on the ice. But he was off the Wild bench for 3:08. How? He spent two minutes in the penalty box for a dumb slashing penalty early in the first period.

He wasn't alone.

All told, the Wild took eight penalties tonight in its loss to the Thrashers - the first EVER in regulation against Atlanta (Wild had been 6-0-2). Eight penalties is a lot. But tonight, it wasn't even so much the penalties - it was the timing of them.

After Eric Boulton's high, high stick on Big John Scott drew blood, the Wild was handed a four-minute power play on a silver platter. It proceeded to dump it all over the floor.

Marek Zidlicky and Shane Hnidy took back-to-back minors, giving Atlanta the 4-on-3 man advantage. It cashed in when Nik Antropov tipped one in with just 13.9 ticks left on the first-period clock.

It remained a 2-2 game until Niclas Bergfors' nasty wrist shot fooled Nik Backstrom and found the right top shelf of the net.

Evander Kane - yes, he's named after the boxer - had a pretty first period goal (his 13th of the year; he's 18 1/2 years old, by the way) but took an interference penalty with 2:00 left in the game to give Minnesota some needed momentum. However - SURPRISE! - Martin Havlat took a cross checking penalty just 24 seconds later and Atlanta was able to pretty much run out the game.

Just how bad was the penalty situation? The Thrashers had 9:08 of power play time tonight. The Wild? It's as simple as 1:23.

This is a bad loss. Not only because of the penalties, either. The Wild now NEEDS a win Sunday against Vancouver to salvage a season-long five-game home stand. Those eight points Todd Richards talked about a couple weeks back? Not possible now. Best it can do here is six. That might not be enough.

The game story in tomorrow's paper, by the way, is quite short. That's because Wild news took up a lot of space elsewhere.

Ummm - what else happened today? Oh yeah - THE TRADE. Geez, that seems like it happened ages ago, though it's only been 10 hours. That also means I've been here for over 13 hours, and with the Wild's Saturday practice set to begin in less that 12 hours, my math tells me it's time to go.

Cam Barker is supposed to be here in time to practice. I sure hope he is, because I really need a Sunday story

I will check back in tomorrow and let you all know how he looks with his new team.

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