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Russo's Rants

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

Spurgeon, Haula miss Wild's Friday practice

Afternoon from New Yawk City, where my hotel room looks down on Madison Square Garden and looks off at the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

The GM of this hotel is a hockey fan.

The Wild, winners of three in a row, practiced out in Newark today in preparation for the start of its four-game trip Saturday vs. David Puddy's Devils.

Some practice updates:

The good news is the entire team made the trip, including the banged-up guys.

The bad news is two of those guys didn't practice today.

Erik Haula, whom I've mentioned has been playing on a lower-body injury for a week, definitely looked to aggravate it when he was tripped up at the defensive blue line last night. He didn't practice today. Frankly, it's amazing he has been playing ... and playing as well as he has ... when you watch him walk around off the ice.

Jared Spurgeon, who sustained an upper-body injury with 11:20 left last night when checked by Matt Martin, didn't practice.

Marco Scandella, who missed the Toronto game because of an illness, did practice.

Sooooo, what's this mean?

If Spurgeon can't play, Scandella will likely just replace him in the lineup unless Bruce Boudreau plans to maybe also sit Mike Reilly and give Nate Prosser his season debut.

If Haula can't play, the Wild will either have to make a roster move to call up a forward after 4 p.m. today or in the morning, or play seven defensemen, meaning Prosser would make his season debut if Spurgeon is also out.

Remember, the Wild's not carrying an extra forward right now.

So stay tuned. If I'm not back, talk to you Saturday.

Big Scott Stevens feature in Saturday's paper, so please give that a read. A ton of good stuff in there.

Postgame: Spurgeon injured in Wild's third straight come-from-behind win

The Wild swept its three-game homestand with a third consecutive come-from-behind win, this time rallying to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, thanks to third-period goals by Zac Dalpe and Eric Staal.

News of the night: Marco Scandella was a scratch because he was sick, so Matt Dumba played and played quite well, assisting on Staal’s first of two goals (a second-period breakaway), having three hits and three blocked shots in 23:08 of ice time.

But Jared Spurgeon got hurt with 11:20 left after being checked in the corner by Matt Martin (yes, the same Matt Martin who ended Keith Ballard’s career when Martin played for the Islanders). This one was after Spurgeon gave up the puck, but not overly late. He is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The Wild leaves Friday morning for a four-game road trip to New Jersey, the Islanders, Boston and Buffalo. If Spurgeon isn’t ready to play the Devils on Saturday, the Wild has Nate Prosser patiently waiting or could go with the five defensemen who played tonight and Scandella if he’s all better.

Christian Folin took three minor penalties tonight, but Boudreau was pleased with his game. He was plus-2 (he’s not plus-5 in three games) and had four hits and two blocked shots. Ryan Suter was solid tonight, having another assist to extend his point streak to four games (Charlie Coyle also has a four-game point streak to start the season). Suter had three takeaways and five shot attempts and logged 28:56 because the Wild was down to five D.

Boudreau pushed the right buttons, flipping Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter to start the third. Wild scored first shift of Niederreiter on the fourth line. Zucker, I think, would later be bench the final 7 ½ minutes after a puck slid by him in the offensive zone. He has been banged up though, so maybe that’s why Boudreau stopped using him, too, although Zucker was on the bench.

Some extra quotes not in the gamer

Boudreau on the tying goal: “To me it was all Dalpe on that play. He drove around and kept his legs moving when he was going around. That was a great shot top shelf. Good for him. He deserved it. He was 6-0 on the faceoffs. I thought he was very strong out there.”

Boudreau on finding a way to rally again: “The only thing I say is, 'It's one shot.' We don't think we're going to get one chance this period to score a goal? It's not insurmountable. We are going to get a chance to score. So just hold them off. I told them, 'All we have to do is win a period. Take it down to 20 minutes. You win the period. You win the game.’”

Boudreau on Folin: “You know what, he played pretty good. He took three penalties, and probably one wasn’t warranted for sure – the first one. The other two definitely were warranted, but at the same time, I thought, especially when you go down to five defensemen, and he hasn’t played a lot – he played a lot of minutes today, so I was happy with him.”

Boudreau on Devan Dubnyk (31 saves): “I thought he was really good. He was seeing the puck. For a guy that hasn’t seen Duby play a lot, I could tell when he’s on. Now I have a feeling when I know he’s on and when he hasn’t been on or being very average. But tonight he was seeing the puck, he was moving great, he was anticipating great.”

Boudreau on Eric Staal: “He wasn’t happy with his game last game, and real good players, they bounce back because they’ve got a lot of pride. I thought he was really good. He had the puck a lot, his legs were moving, so when that happens, good things happen.”

Staal on his goal: “A good play by [Zach Parise] being hard on the forecheck. Got the puck over in the corner there and, I was just kind of surveying my options coming out. I looked at Charlie and then I saw Zach beat his guy off the wall and I just wanted to lay it kind of back post for him, but fortunately it slid right by everybody and went in. We’ll take it.”
Staal on if they were out of sync the first two period- “I don’t know if we were out of sync. I think they were quick. They played hard. I think they weren’t really happy with their result last night and we knew that, we were ready. But I think we could have done a better job being a little bit crisper with some of our puck movement and play that way. But you got to give them a little credit, they played a hard game. I really like the way we responded and battled, and continued to play. We got a good team. It was a good win tonight.”
Staal on his quick start after last year- “I mean, yeah, it feels good to contribute. Anytime you come to a new team, you want to be a contributing player right away. I never felt like I forgot how to play. I knew I could play and I’ve been in this league a long time. But I needed to come here and be ready in training camp, and be fit and hungry. I’ve done that, and now it’s about continuing to build. It’s only been four games. I got a long way to go but it’s been a good start for me and hopefully this team keeps picking up wins, because that’s what it’s all about.”

Dalpe on his goal: “A goal or not we showed some character coming back. It's a big win at home and we'll continue it on the road here.”

Dalpe on tying it up: “I think all lines were playing well. The first period was a little bit shaky. Had to match their push a bit. It was good to tie it up.”

Dalpe on not passing to Teemu Pulkkinen: “I wanted to hit him. I just kept it and the hockey gods took over from there I guess.”

Dubnyk on Toronto: “We talked about it, I'm sure they were disappointed with the outcome in Winnipeg. We knew they were going to come hard and fast and they did that. They got some good chances on their power play in the first and kind of kept the momentum going but we had some good pushback and a better second to be able to stay with it like that, that's going to be important all year.”

Dubnyk on Dalpe goal: “That's what you look for at the start of a period. He turned on the jets. He's a skilled player, he's got an incredibly shot. I'm sure we'll see a few more of his go in this year with his shot, he shoots the puck really well. That was just a good play all around and Teemu to stay onside was pretty impressive that the people only saw because they challenged it but it was a pretty impressive effort by him. That's how you win hockey games.”

Talk to you from New York. Fun, fun feature in Saturday’s paper, so please grab that.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State

    5 pm

  • Charlotte at Timberwolves (preseason)

    7 pm on FSN/NBATV, 830-AM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers men's hockey

    8 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Rutgers at Gophers football

    11 am on ESPNU, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Ohio State

    2 pm

  • Wild at New Jersey

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Minnesota United FC at Carolina

    6:30 pm on Ch. 29

  • Gophers men's hockey at St. Cloud State

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Vikings at Philadelphia

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Wild at N.Y. Islanders

    5 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Wild at Boston

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Memphis

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Wild at Buffalo

    6 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • St. Cloud State at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm on BTN PLUS

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

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Today's Scoreboard

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