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Russo's Rants

Michael Russo gives you complete coverage of the Minnesota Wild and the NHL

Postgame: Balanced scoring, back-to-back shutouts, Wild returns home confident

Heck of a way to finish the four-game road trip for the Wild by shutting out Boston and Buffalo two nights apart.

Devan Dubnyk stopped 65 shots combined for consecutive shutouts for the second time in his career and first time since Feb. 3 and 7, 2015 – his eighth and ninth starts as a member of the Wild.

The Wild’s defensemen were outstanding tonight. Playing all trip without Jared Spurgeon (who could return Saturday against Dallas), the Wild lost Marco Scandella 10 minutes into the game. Scandella’s right knee looked to plant underneath him, and he was in pain as he hopped to the bench after the pileup (coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t have an update yet as to how long he’ll be out).

But from there, all five of the remaining D stepped up and even outshot the forwards tonight.

Ryan Suter, one game after scoring a goal and an assist and being +3 with four shots, had, uh, a goal, an assist and was +3 with four shots.

Model of consistency for the stalwart defenseman who’s off to a terrific start to his year.

Matt Dumba took a brunt of Scandella’s minutes, too. He had to play the left and right side and had four shots in 25:54 solid minutes. Good games, too, for Nate Prosser, Jonas Brodin and Christian Folin.

Prosser and Scandella, by the way, assisted on Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal. Folin assisted on Suter’s. That means all 20 Wild skaters on the roster have a point this season. The Wild has 28 goals, which is first in the West and second in the NHL by a goal to Montreal (as of right this second).

The Wild’s 5-2-1 record puts it atop the Central by a point.

Eriksson Ek scored a beauty goal tonight to get the Wild off and running. It wound up amounting to his first career game-winning goal one game after his first career three-assist and three-point game.

On the road trip, he had two goals and five points. His parents, Anna Ek and Claus Eriksson, are currently on their way to Minnesota from Sweden to witness his first ever homestand.

“It’s been a fun week. Went really well. Overexpecting,” Eriksson Ek said. “It’s been really fun.”

Bruce Boudreau said, “He’s getting better every night. One of these days I’m going to put him on the power play. He’s done everything and more that we’ve asked of him so far.”

Some more postgame quotes, and as usual, please read the game story and game notebook in the paper and on the page for all the coverage from tonight’s game.

Eriksson Ek on Dubnyk: “He was amazing. He saved everything. He was really good.”

On playing at home for the first time, Eriksson Ek said, “It’s going to be really fun. I’ve heard great things about them (the fans).”

Boudreau on the win: “It feels good. The guys wanted to win pretty bad and I thought that first period was as good as a first period as we played in a long time.”

On the Wild’s 2 for 2 penalty kill, which is now 22 for 23: “They had some chances on the first power play. I think on the second power play they had, we were more of a demoralizing fact to them and it got our group going more than it got their group going.”

On leading the league in goals (they were when I asked the question): “Why not? I don’t know what to say, but I always think we’re going to be the best at everything, but doesn’t usually work out that way. That’s fun doing that.”

On the balanced scoring: “That’s awesome. That’s good for them. It’s a confidence builder. Now when they go out, everybody thinks that they can be the guys that get the job done.”

On Dumba: “He’s come through with Spurge down. He’s elevated his game. Ever since the threat of sitting him out, he’s been really good.”

On Staal not being awarded a penalty shot for the second time this season, Boudreau, unsolicited, asked, “Does anybody think that should have been a penalty shot? I’m just asking. If you guys can find out what the explanation of what a penalty shot is in the league, please let me know. He got a shot away, and I thought that rule went out in ‘72.”

Dubnyk on this rink, where he made his Wild debut in 2015 with a 7-0 shutout: “It's a nice feeling to finish the road trip that way and keep the good feeling in this rink. Unfortunately we only play here once a year. I've said it before. This is a special place for me. It all began here with these guys. So there will always be good memories of that no matter what here.”

Dubnyk on making 19 saves in the second: “It felt like obviously they were coming and they got a big push on the PP. We knew they were going to come back. We played them hard in the first and we knew they were going to have a push. I don't know if we knew the push was going to be that strong. When we get a two-goal lead and we get some guys working in our end and keeping the puck out of the net we're able to have a chance to weather those.”

Dubnyk on his play: “It's about finding the puck and being patient. That has a lot to do with trusting the guys in front of me and trusting what's going on and who's covered and what I need to worry about. The guys have done a great job for me so far on allowing me to do my job. It makes it fun to play.”

Dumba on the play of the D: “It [stinks] seeing Scandy go down. Just like we say Jared go down the other night. It was a testament to our group being mentally prepared for the game. Us D men, everyone just stepped up, and all five of us back here had a great game tonight and just helped the team.”

Dumba on his confidence: “It's been good. I've known I could play like this. Just getting these minutes it's awesome I just want to be able to do whatever I can for my team. If that's playing more and being better with the puck, all the little things, being good in my zone, those are the things I'm going to do and just try to be as successful as we can.”

Dumba on balanced scoring: “It's crazy. The last couple years we didn't really feel that love. It's nice. Hopefully we can keep that going.”

Dumba on Dubnyk: It's awesome. He's carrying us right now. You've got to ride that wave.

Suter on the second period: “Duby bailed us out there in the second.”

Suter on balanced scoring: “That's how we have to win. We don't have the superstars. We need everybody on the team participating and so far we've been able to do that. Hopefully we can keep that going.”

Suter on the trip: “Bruce was telling us to win the week. This was a big game for that. Now we've got a tough challenge going back home. So we have to make sure we're ready for that and come out on home ice the way we finished the road trip.”

That’s it for me.

I’m taping the Russo-Souhan Show in the late morning, so pay attention to our Twitter accounts for when we ask for questions.

I’m filling in for Dan Barreiro on KFAN from 3-6:30. Lots of Wild talk and lots of guests, including maybe Bruce Boudreau. I’ll also be talking Gophers football, Vikings and the World Series.

Rachel Blount is covering practice.

Wild power-play tinkering tonight features former Sabres captain

The Wild wraps up its four-game trip tonight in Buffalo. The Sabres blew a 3-0 third-period lead in Philly a few nights ago, so coach Bruce Boudreau is expecting a surly opponent in only the Sabres' second home game.

Some Minnesota ties in the Sabres' lineup: Kyle Okposo, former Wild winger Matt Moulson, who's off to a good start, and former Gopher Hudson Fasching, who's playing on Buffalo's fourth line with Derek Grant and Nicolas Deslauriers. Fasching had six hits in Philly the other night and drew a penalty that led to a power-play goal.

He hopes to play his first career NHL game in St. Paul on Tuesday. I talked to him this morning and will write a bit about him in the notebook in Friday's paper.

Also, former Shattuck-St. Mary's coach Tom Ward is a Sabres' assistant and will be an eye in the sky tonight.

Jared Spurgeon and Erik Haula won't play tonight, so same lineup. Depending on tomorrow's practice, coach Bruce Boudreau said Saturday against Dallas is a possibility.

Devan Dubnyk vs. Anders Nilsson.

A couple power play changes. Nino Niederreiter looks like he'll start on one of the units.

Also, with defensemen Marco Scandella having 10 of his shots blocked the past two games and Jonas Brodin fanning on shots lately, one of those two will take a back seat tonight on the power play.

Jason Pominville will get back to his long-time role with the Wild at the point.

"He's a jack of all trades," Boudreau said of the former Sabres captain. "He kills penalties. Tonight he's going to play some point on the power play. I put him in on the third, fourth, or second line. He's a guy that has experience that takes whatever assignment he has very seriously and he does a good job with it."

On Pominville playing the point, "We just want to try something different. I think it's important to get a lefty-righty instead of two lefties. Because when you come back after the power play we only have two righties that haven't played the power play. You don't like to come back with two righties against what's usually the other team's top line. So if we can make it where -- at least until Spurgeon gets back -- that we have a right-lefty up there, then we can come back defensively with a lefty-righty."

Talk to ya later.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Wild at Buffalo

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers men's hockey at Clarkson

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

  • Gophers football at Illinois

    11 am on BTN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers men's hockey at St. Lawrence

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • New York at Minnesota United FC

    7 pm on Ch. 29

  • Dallas at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Sacramento

    9:30 pm on FSN/NBATV, 830-AM

  • Vikings at Chicago

    7:30 pm on ESPN, 100.3/1130

  • Buffalo at Wild

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 100.3-FM

  • Memphis at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Denver at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Bemidji State at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on 1500-AM

Today's Scoreboard

No MLB games today

  • Jacksonville



    - End 3rd



  • Washington



    - F



  • Boston



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  • San Antonio



    - 2nd, 5:50



  • LA Clippers



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  • Minnesota



    - F



  • Arizona



    - F



  • NY Islanders



    - F



  • Tampa Bay



    - F



  • Florida



    - F



  • Detroit

    St. Louis


    - F



  • Dallas



    - F



  • Nashville

    Los Angeles


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  • Columbus

    San Jose


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  • Montreal



    - F



  • Sporting Kansas City



    - End 2nd