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.

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Wild dominated in its own zone; Cullen injured

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 2, 2013 - 12:37 AM
The Wild’s three-game point streak ended tonight at the Honda Center by a 3-1 score.
 
Bobby Ryan and ageless Teemu Selanne combined for six points and Kyle Palmieri scored twice as the Wild was outmatched from start to finish.
 
The Ducks rimmed pucks out of the Wild end and constantly chipped pucks in deep before going to work on the Wild’s D. The Wild was absolutely under attack by the much bigger, more skilled team, turned pucks over routinely in its own end, had trouble executing a first pass out of its end and, because of that, could never, ever, ever generate a sustained attack against goalie Viktor Fasth, who even coach Bruce Boudreau admitted was fighting the puck.
 
How about that for a run-on sentence?
 
The Wild spent the entire night in its own end. The Wild had to be outchanced like 25-5 until the last few minutes. It was that ugly. It was Niklas Backstrom and nobody else.
 
“We didn’t do a good job breaking out,” said Zach Parise, whose turnover at the offensive blue line led to the tying goal after Marco Scandella gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead. “We lost pucks on the wall. You’ve got to make a good first pass, you’ve got to get open for each other, you’ve got to put the other guy in a good position. And we didn’t do that.
 
“We just kind of had the puck and gave the problem to somebody else. We’re not doing a good job of supporting each other to break out as a unit and you see what happens. We couldn’t get out of our zone.”
 
Mike Yeo said there were too many passengers tonight and it’s hard to execute when “one guy’s doing it [right] and the next guy is not.”
 
On not getting out of the zone, Yeo said, “You need some composure, you need to be able to move your feet, you need to be willing to take a hit to make a play, … work harder. They kept getting it in and they kept getting it in.”
 
The top line of Parise, Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu had no shots until 4:14 left. Parise and Heatley ended with two shots each. They are both without a goal in the past three games.
 
Put that together with the fact that the other three lines cannot be counted on to score, and the Wild’s got issues. Yeo said he will look at the lines for the Phoenix game Monday.
 
He said he can’t keep “throwing those guys out and hope something else works. We need other guys to step up and contribute and if we have to break things up to do that, we’ll look to do that.”
 
Matt Cullen was injured with a little more than seven minutes left in the game. Cullen started to trip and Palmieri didn’t let up. Cullen, in an awkward position, went flying head first into the side boards. It didn’t look good. He was clearly hurt and skated right off and to the locker room after gathering himself. Yeo didn’t have an update right after the game. We will get one at practice on Saturday, but if he’s hurt, we could very well be seeing Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle or Johan Larsson.
 

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