A comeback for Koivu, Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2012 - 2:39 AM

The captain returned from his injury, but two defensemen were hurt in a ragged, hard-fought victory.

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The Wild got captain Mikko Koivu back Thursday night against the Calgary Flames, but considering the way this season has gone for Minnesota, it should come as no surprise that the Wild would then lose its top two defensemen during a come-from-behind 3-2 shootout victory.

Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella were each hurt, yet the Wild somehow fought back from a two-goal deficit to steal a critical point from the desperate Calgary Flames.

After Dany Heatley and Darroll Powe rallied the Wild into overtime, Devin Setoguchi scored the lone shootout goal in Round 4 after Flames coach Brent Sutter chose a bizarre list of shooters in Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Blair Jones and Blame Comeau to challenge Josh Harding.

The Flames are fighting for their playoff lives, yet Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross weren't tapped, and Calgary fell to 3-9 in shootouts.

"Brent wanted to change things up," said assistant coach Craig Hartsburg, subbing for the red-faced Sutter, who was fuming after the game, kicked a garbage can and screamed as he spoke with General Manager Jay Feaster.

The Wild? Its demeanor was the polar opposite thanks to overcoming six penalties in the first 20:55 to help the Flames gain a 2-0 lead.

Despite Spurgeon suffering a "possible concussion" in the first period after a blatant elbow to the head by Tanguay and despite Scandella needing X-rays to determine the severity of an injury after blocking a Stajan shot late in the third, the Wild gutted out an impressive victory.

"Once we stayed out of the box and played 5-on-5, we were a force," said defenseman Nate Prosser.

"We weren't playing to start the game," coach Mike Yeo said. "It looked like we didn't even have our skates on. We were just slow to react. We just watched them play."

But the fourth line of Jed Ortmeyer, Warren Peters and Stephane Veilleux swung the momentum in the Wild's favor with a string of high-octane, offensive-zone shifts. The trio drew a penalty, and Heatley one-timed Setoguchi's pass for his first goal in nine games.

"Huge effort by them," Koivu said of the fourth line.

Said Peters: "Our line just wants to go out there and do that on a regular basis."

The Wild took over and finally tied it during a one-sided third period when Powe scored his first goal since Jan. 17, halting a 26-game drought, with 7:37 left. The goal had to be confirmed by video replay because Stajan swept the puck away inches over the goal line.

"It's been awhile. I'll take whatever at this point," Powe said.

Two minutes later, Scandella blocked Stajan's shot and was injured somewhere near the midsection.

"Heck of a block. Those are the things you have to do to win hockey games," said Yeo.

At that time, Steve Kampfer was out because of a foot injury, so with the Wild down to three defensemen, forward Matt Cullen moved to the blue line.

Yeo commended Cullen's versatility and the job done by the entire blue line, especially veteran Tom Gilbert, who played nearly 31 minutes.

In the shootout, Setoguchi, who on March 1 in Montreal embarrassed himself by falling in a shootout, won it with a filthy shot. Since falling, he is 2-for-2 in shootouts and made a penalty shot.

"It's nice to get a chance to redeem myself," Setoguchi said. "It's a good laugh the next day after [Montreal]. It obviously stunk at the time to fall head-first."

He said with a laugh: "It's the most press I ever had in my career."

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    Up next: 6 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

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