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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Parise-Koivu-Heatley team for 2 power-play goals, Granlund scores in debut to lift Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: January 20, 2013 - 12:16 AM
Dany Heatley scored two power-play goals, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu assisted on both of them, Mikael Granlund became the first Wild rookie to score in a season opener since Marian Gaborik in 2000, Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored in his first game in more than a year and Niklas Backstrom made 25 saves in a 4-2 season-opening win over Colorado.
 
Oh, and Zenon Konopka fought 2 ½ minutes into the game and got clipped by a Jan Hejda high-stick for 30 stitches across the bridge of his oft-broken nose. Want to see a pic? Check out the photo he tweeted at www.twitter.com/zenonkonopka. He’s the guy holding a rabbit named Hoppy.
 
Big win after a very slow start, one that Wes Walz all but predicted to me before the game. Walz is usually bang-on on everything he predicts, and he called this one: Nerves and excitement for the opener seemed to cause havoc, flat legs and lots of defensive zone scrambles.
 
“We still had a little bit of summer hockey left in us,” Parise said of numerous cross-ice passes that resulted in turnovers by the team. “Once we started getting behind their D, they backed off. We learned it’s OK to chip pucks in.”
 
The Wild felt behind 1-0 but it felt like 4-0 as the Avalanche peppered the Backstrom but routinely had bad puck luck.
 
Then, often-undisciplined Steve Downie completely turned the game around with three minors in the first 6:22 of the second. The Heatley-Parise-Koivu trio teamed for two power-play goals with Granlund scoring in between on a deflection of a Jared Spurgeon shot.
 
Spurgeon fished the keepsake puck out for him. Coach Mike Yeo loved Granlund’s game, especially defensively, where Yeo said he had absolutely “zero” problems with it. He also loved when Granlund blocked a shot in the third to help preserve a 3-2 lead.
 
The Ryan Suter-Spurgeon duo had some issues, especially in the first, and Suter said they talked about it after the game and they’ll be better against Dallas on Sunday night.
 
Semyon Varlamov was terrific and kept the Wild from really blowing out Colorado in the last two periods. Heatley was robbed a few times of his hat trick try.
 
He did scored his 137th and 138th power-play goals, first in the league since 2001. He now has 351 goals and 61 two-goal games.
 
Koivu now has 50 two-assist games, Parise 36. Yeo loved Parise’s game, especially the way he attacks the net, and of course his relentless work ethic.
 
Bouchard’s goal was his 99th. Backstrom is now 21-5-2 all-time vs. the Avs, 12-3-1 at home. The Wild is now 5-1-1 on Hockey Day Minnesota, 11-0-1 in home openers.
 
That’s it for me. Please read the game story and the Mikael Granlund notebook. Talk to you Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Detroit 12
NY Yankees 1 Top 8th Inning
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 Top 8th Inning
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 Bottom 6th Inning
Toronto 4
San Francisco 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 3
Cleveland 0 Top 1st Inning
Cincinnati 0
Boston College 3:05 PM
Boston
Arizona State 4:10 PM
Arizona
Boston 6:00 PM
Cleveland
LA Lakers 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Sacramento 6:00 PM
New York
Houston 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Utah 7:00 PM
Memphis
Washington 7:00 PM
Chicago
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Denver
Nashville 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Calgary 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Buffalo 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Toronto 6:30 PM
Florida
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Minnesota
NY Islanders 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Arizona
Los Angeles 8:30 PM
Edmonton
San Jose 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ole Miss 6:00 PM
Alabama
Eastern Mich 6:00 PM
Ball State
Kent State 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Georgetown 6:00 PM
Butler
Toledo 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Dayton
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Detroit
North Carolina 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Holy Cross
Iowa 6:00 PM
Indiana
Akron 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Army 6:00 PM
Navy
Maryland 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Stetson 6:30 PM
North Florida
Wright State 7:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
Western Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Houston Baptist 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
NC State 8:00 PM
Clemson
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Florida
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Georgia
West Virginia 8:00 PM
Kansas
Auburn 8:00 PM
Missouri
Michigan 8:00 PM
Northwestern
Villanova 8:15 PM
Creighton
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 13 1st Half 2:57
Presbyterian 23
Coastal Carolina 5:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
NJIT 6:00 PM
UMass Lowell
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Kansas State
TCU 7:00 PM
Texas
Fresno State 8:00 PM
Air Force
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Boise State
Nevada 8:00 PM
Colorado State
UNLV 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT