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 searches for first road win tonight at Calgary

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild pregame skate Updated: February 11, 2013 - 2:05 PM


The Wild, coming off a 2-1 overtime win over Nashville, looks for its first road win of the season tonight at Calgary.

Morning skate Wild news (see below for Calgary): Captain Mikko Koivu will play in his 500th game. I had a good conversation with him and will write about that for tomorrow. ... Coach Mike Yeo said Jonas Brodin is here to stay. "He's an NHL defenseman, ... and a very good one." (Brodin so far hasn't been told to move out of the team hotel though). ... Yeo wouldn't rule out defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who will miss his ninth game with a foot injury, returning tomorrow night in Vancouver. Yeo wishes though Spurgeon could get in a few more practices, but that's just not possible in this type of season. In fact, the Wild's next practice isn't scheduled until Saturday!

In an arena the Wild used to never win in during the Jacques Lemaire days, it has somehow reeled off six of nine wins (22-11 score advantage) at one of my favorite buildings, the Saddledome, including three shutouts.

The Wild will come back with the same lineup as the Predators' win and the same lines. Yeo wants to keep things intact so players can try to develop some chemistry.


Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle

Dany Heatley-Mikael Granlund-Devin Setoguchi

Matt Cullen-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck

Mike Rupp-Zenon Konopka-Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner-Tom Gilbert

Justin Falk-Nate Prosser

Extras: Torrey Mitchell, Matt Kassian, Marco Scandella

Niklas Backstrom starts in goal. Yeo said they'll get through tonight's game and then decide on the goalie in Vancouver.

Remember, tonight's 8 p.m. CT game is on Fox Sports North Plus. Go to their web site if you need a guide as to where to find this channel. I will be on Fox Sports North Tuesday from Vancouver during Wild Live at 9 p.m. and the first intermission.

The Wild will avoid Miikka Kiprusoff tonight because he is sidelined with a lower body injury. He is expected to return Wednesday against Dallas. No goalie has been more successful against the Wild. In 50 games, he is 29-15-6 with a 2.01 goals against average, .923 save percentage and four shutouts.

Instead, 24-year-old Leland Irving will be between the Calgary pipes looking for his third NHL win. But if you know the Wild, when the opposing team's No. 1 goalie doesn't start, it often times doesn't make a difference. The Wild's got the ability to make any backup goalie look like the combination of Patrick Roy, Marty Brodeur and Dominik Hasek.

Interesting dynamic here: The Flames picked up Joey MacDonald off waivers from Detroit to be Kiprusoff's backup. So going into tonight's start, Irving knows he likely lost his job. One's got to wonder how his head will be.

Jarome Iginla is healthy -- rarely good news for the Wild. He is the all-time leader against the Wild in goals by a 14-goal margin with 35, points with 64 and winning goals with 10. He is second in power-play goals with 10. fourth in assists with 29 and second in games with 67.

Sounds like Michael Cammalleri will return for Calgary tonight. He missed two games with a hip flexor. Michael Cammalleri won't play, coach Bob Hartley said Mikael Backlund and Sven Baertschi are out.

Veteran defenseman Cory Sarich will play. Derek Smith is coming out.

That's it for now. Very winnable game tonight against the 3-4-2 Flames. And, considering the Wild is 0-8-2 in its last 10 in Vancouver (outscored 38-14 with 2 power-play goals on 41 chances in that stretch) AND have to play on a second of back-to-back with Vancouver well rested, this is as close to a must-win as there is at this time of year.


Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 28 2nd Qtr 9:32
Cleveland 30
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 2nd Half 0:03
Marist 71
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 66 2nd Half 3:54
St Johns 63
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 28 2nd Half 19:40
Butler 32
NJIT 32 2nd Half 16:37
South Alabama 37
Northern Iowa 6 1st Half 17:07
Illinois State 4
Louisville 6 1st Half 15:12
Pittsburgh 8
UMBC 3:30 PM
Niagara 3:30 PM
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Washington 7:30 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
UCF 60 2nd Half 0:03
SMU 57
Hartford 57 2nd Half 0:52
Albany 81
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 46 2nd Half 7:16
Xavier 49
Creighton 34 2nd Half 20:00
Marquette 35
Providence 18 2nd Half
DePaul 49
Northeastern 30 2nd Half
Elon 38
(2) Connecticut 48 2nd Half 20:00
Cincinnati 13
Oregon 32 2nd Half 20:00
Arizona 29
Bradley 19 2nd Half
Loyola-Chicago 23
NC State 29 2nd Half 20:00
(23) Syracuse 26
(7) Maryland 47 2nd Half
Indiana 29
Illinois State 20 2nd Half
Missouri State 30
Colorado 5 1st Half 17:47
Washington St 2
Tulane 0 1st Half 19:40
South Florida 2
(14) Kentucky 4 1st Half 18:25
Missouri 3
(9) Oregon State 2 1st Half 18:10
(13) Arizona State 5
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
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