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

Postgame: Yeo even has hard time finding positives after latest Wild defeat; Wild live chat Friday afternoon

Mike Yeo’s demeanor was that of a dejected, defeated man after tonight’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals, although he quickly denied that when I made note of it.

But even when asked about the quality of play from guys like Charlie Coyle and Matt Dumba tonight, the Wild coach naturally couldn’t bring himself to go there after the Wild’s seventh consecutive overall loss (0-5-2), seventh consecutive home loss (0-4-3), 12th loss in the past 13 games (1-10-2) and 15th loss in 18 games in 2016 (3-11-4).

Devan Dubnyk is 0-8-1 since Jan. 9. The Wild has given up 21 goals the past five games and at least four goals in five of the past six games. It has been outscored 13-3 in the past five second periods.

The Caps have 40 wins and 84 points, 17 more wins and 28 more points than the Wild. The Wild has lost 10 games in regulation since Jan. 10; the Caps nine games in regulation in 53 games this season.

The Wild hasn’t won since Jan. 21. The Wild hasn’t won at home since Dec. 28.

If the Wild doesn’t beat the Boston Bruins in a 1 p.m. matinee Saturday, it’ll equal the franchise-record longest home winless streak set during its inaugural season in 2000-2001 … when there were ties (0-3-5).

So, imagine this irony: The Wild could potentially be carrying a franchise-record-tying home winless streak into the Feb. 21 outdoor game it has long awaited.

Seems like a perfect time for me to host a live chat on startribune.com/wild at 1:45 p.m. Friday.

Pray for me.

I’ll also be hosting a special brunch podcast at 10 a.m. at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub down the street from Xcel Energy Center on Saturday. Come on down and join the fun. I may need to drink a bloody before the game.

Tonight, Coyle scored his fifth goal in eight games and his 15th this season. When a reporter asked about Coyle, no offense to Coyle, Yeo could barely stomach an answer.

“It’s hard to…that’s what we have to do, I guess,” he said. “It’s hard to keep pointing to bright spots and positives right now, but if you fall down seven times, you get up eight. That’s what we have to do right now, and there are good signs. The power play got another one tonight, I know we want more than that, but the power play has been starting to get goals for us. Our big-name guys are starting to find the back of the net to get points. That’s another good sign, but we need wins. Generally we’re a team that we preach the process and we’re better that way for sure but we’re beyond that.”

On Dumba, who extended his point streak to five games with an assist and had 15 shot attempts, Yeo said, “He's taken a step.”

When his demeanor what noted, that he looked down and drained, Yeo perked up and said, “Heck yeah, of course. But there will never be a time where I start feeling sorry for myself, or for our group. I'll never stop trying to find a solution. And maybe the solution is to stop trying to find a solution (smiling). Maybe it's to leave it alone and just kind of put it in their hands, and let's just go work it out. But that's what we'll do. We'll come back, and we'll do what we have to do [Thursday] tonight to get ready, and we'll come back [Friday] with a great attitude. If there's one thing that I can say that I'm very proud of our guys, it's we're competing right now. Even the third period, the way we fought back again tonight, it would be a lesser group, a group without that character would quit, and I haven't seen that from that group.”

As you can read in the gamer, Alex Ovechkin scored three second-period goals and had 10 shots for his 14th career hat trick and the 17th all-time against the Wild.

He was wide open backdoor on the first two. He got lost somehow, and the pucks just found him.

“Those are goal scorer’s goals,” said Ryan Suter. “They have the best goal scorer ever maybe, and he got three on us.

“I mean, puck bounces right to him first one, second one off the back wall. Third one bounces out of the pule right to him. We need to start getting those breaks.”

The third one, which would have been the game-winner until Mikael Granlund scored his first goal with a goalie in net since Nov. 21 with 1.7 seconds left, looked like it may have been offside. The puck on replay certainly looked like it crossed over the blue line, but there are no cameras on the blue line and the linesmen are looking at tiny little screens.

Linesman Jay Sharrers, according to Suter, said they couldn’t find that perfect angle to show it was conclusively offside, so the goal counted.

“I saw it in real life, and on the replay it looked even more offside,” Suter said. “[Sharrers] said he doesn't have enough angles. He said he can’t overturn it because he can't see it clearly. If they're going to have the rule, they better get some more cameras, I think.”

Said Yeo, “What are we going to do? Are we going to cry about it and feel sorry for ourselves? Obviously that was a big moment in the game. I thought we had some good momentum going at that time. We scored and we were coming and there’s good energy in the building. They scored the goal, and it counted. So what can you do? It’s frustrating. I’m not going to try to paint a picture of every bounce is going against us right now, but pucks are bouncing off us and in or off end boards right to certain guys or plays like that. If that’s what we have to deal with, that’s what we have to deal with.”

Asked if the league needs better camera positions for offside challenges, Yeo said, “I don’t think I’m in a state of mind to start figuring out what’s best for the league right now.”

Wild players continue to try to keep their heads up.

Said Coyle, “We gotta find ways. We keep saying we’re taking strides and that’s the positive thing to do and I think we are, but we gotta get that end result. … We have to stay positive during this. Going the other way is only going to do us worse.  We know once we come out of this funk, we’re going to be a better team because of it, so we just need to keep that in mind.”

Said Marco Scandella, “It’s a tough one but the game is over now. We have to stick together. We have to keep playing hard and we can’t keep making those mistakes. I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We gotta find a way to win. … Usually, it gets worse before it gets better. But we have to keep our heads on straight, everyone has to battle and we have to stick together. We have to be a team here.”

On the horrible second periods lately, Yeo said, “It’s tough to put a finger on that one. We obviously have been starting games well and it doesn’t take much in that second period to lose a little momentum. It comes down to puck work, execution. You could see there were a number of times we’d make one play but couldn’t make the second play tonight, and if you’re not executing properly, in that second period with that long change you’re going to spend more time in your own zone. I feel that’s been a big part of this trend that’s going on. We’ve been spending a lot more time in our own zone in the second period.”

Barring news, Kent Youngblood has practice Friday as I would on my Sunday package and conduct that chat.

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Lastly, give @dakota_case a follow on Twitter, send him a shoutout and keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

I got to meet the 25-year-old Wild fan and his awesone parents tonight. They were hosted by all-around good guy Nate Prosser. The Hockey Wilderness blogger and budding sportscaster from Sioux Falls is being admitted indefinitely to a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, next week as he awaits a heart transplant.

Dakota's had a tough go his entire life, and if you remember, he was hospitalized much of last summer causing him to miss the second part of the Stanley Cup Final, the draft and the Mike Reilly and Devan Dubnyk signings.

The passionate and very knowledgeable Wild fan fought his doctors to come to tonight's game. Much to their chagrin, he won.

All the best to Dakota and his family.

Floundering Wild will look to beat the often-unbeatable Capitals

Wild and Washington Capitals tonight at Xcel Energy Center.

I’ve spent the past couple days gathering yarn on the Caps and have ton a great stuff you’ll be reading the next few weeks. As I did during the 2012 lockout covering the Gophers, I just put the recorder next to Nate Schmidt, hit the on button and let him talk in a gazillion different directions.

Barry Trotz, as usual, and Alex Ovechkin were good, too, so get ready to read some Caps stuff.

Devan Dubnyk vs. Braden Holtby, on pace to break Martin Brodeur’s single-season win total of 48, tonight.

Holtby has one regulation loss in his past 31 games.

“It’s crazy to watch,” Dubnyk said. “He’s been a phenomenal goalie for years now, but nobody expects anybody to do what he’s doing right now. There’s a reason certain records are set the way they are because they don’t happen very often. I’m happy that he’s in the East and we’ll keep it that way. It’s always fun to see guys performing and setting the bar at the level he is.”

Dubnyk is 2-8-2 since Jan. 3. He went back to his old set of pads that he wore most of this season.

He said it wasn’t superstition or trying something different.

“We had a little bit of a malfunction yesterday, so I just went back to the old ones. The old ones weren’t that beat up,” he said. “Some stuff started breaking down on them and wasn’t really lining up properly for me, so I just felt that over the last couple days and it was an easy decision.”

Dubnyk didn’t have a very good morning skate, so maybe that’ll mean a 1-0 win tonight. I kid about that because Ilya Bryzgalov used to have the world’s worst morning skates and next thing you know, he’d be on the winning end of a shutout that night.

Statistically, Dubnyk’s numbers have been good during the Wild’s long losing skid, but the last few games, you could see cracks in the armor. Coach Mike Yeo said the other day you could see the losses were getting to Dubnyk and starting to affect his play, and Dubnyk concurred this morning.

“You do everything you can to not let it happen, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had a stretch like this before. And everybody knows I’ve had a bad stretch before,” said Dubnyk.

Yeah, he was an Oiler. But I think he was talking about the stretch that landed him in the minors with Montreal.

“And it’s strange,” Dubnyk continued. “It’s strange because I feel good about my game. The last three obviously more goals have gone in, but if you look before that …,  It becomes more difficult. You want to do more. You come into each game and feel like you need to be doing more. Funny thing about being a goalie is it’s a reactionary position. It’s a rare position in sports that’s 100 percent reactionary and you can only do what is given to you and what comes at you, so it’s not a good mindset to approach a game to be trying to do something. You have to stick to what you know works. Like all of us, eventually we’re going to get out of this thing.”

Jared Spurgeon won’t play tonight, meaning the Wild’s against without Jonas Brodin and Spurgeon against an explosive team.

“He’s not ready,” Yeo said. “Shooting the puck OK, but not ready to go in the corners and battle against a team that battles hard.”

Asked if he could play Saturday afternoon against Boston, Yeo said, “We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow.”

Ryan Suter and Zach Parise didn’t skate this morning. Actually, Parise was first on, but then left when the skate began.

Yeo said the team is going back to what it did during last year’s torrid run where when it had games every second day, skating will be based on at least getting one skate in between those.

Yeo said Suter and Parise felt stronger last year skating the day before and staying off in the morning of games.

Wild’s 5-on-5 play the past two games should have been good enough to get a win at least. It’s losing because its penalty kill has been bad. Four goals against the past two games. Yeo said they better stay out of the box against the league’s best power play tonight.

Yeo said faceoffs has been a big factor on the recent PKs. They’ve given the opposition a lot of possession, and when they do clear, easy entries and haven’t recognized good pressure opportunities.

On Friday at 1:45 p.m., I will be hosting live chat on startribune.com/wild, so please join in and don’t stress me out too much.

Also, Saturday at 10 a.m. at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub, I will be flying solo during the Russo-Souhan Show during a special brunch show. Please come down and take part in the podcast. Loyal listener and participant, @Severanceguy on Twitter, is donating four alumni game tickets as a giveaway for the show, so come down for a chance to win em.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Gophers men's hockey at Ohio State

    5:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Minnesota Duluth

    7:07 pm

  • Boston at Wild

    1 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Minnesota Duluth

    4:07 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Ohio State

    6 pm on 1500-AM

  • Gophers men's basketball at Iowa

    6:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Iowa at Gophers women's basketball

    7 pm on BTN, 88.5-FM

  • Wild at Vancouver

    9 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Wild at Calgary

    9 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Indiana

    6 pm on 88.5-FM

  • Maryland at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Wild at Edmonton

    8 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

Poll: Should the Wild fire head coach Mike Yeo?

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Today's Scoreboard

No NFL games today

  • Anaheim

    Columbus

     

    - F

    3

    4

  • Los Angeles

    NY Islanders

     

    - F

    2

    5

  • Buffalo

    Philadelphia

     

    - F

    1

    5

  • Colorado

    Ottawa

     

    - F

    4

    3

  • Washington

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    4

    3

  • Boston

    Winnipeg

     

    - F

    6

    2

  • Dallas

    Chicago

     

    - F

    4

    2

  • Toronto

    Edmonton

     

    - F

    2

    5

  • Calgary

    San Jose

     

    - F

    6

    5

  • New Orleans

    Oklahoma City

     

    - F

    95

    121

  • Washington

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    92

    99

No MLS games today

No MLB games today