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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Wasn't pretty, but a win's a win for the Wild

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 11, 2013 - 11:50 PM

The Wild won its first road game of the season Monday when it beat Calgary in a shootout, 2-1, at the Saddledome.

In a terrific performance, Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves through overtime, then two more in the shootout, as the Wild won its second consecutive game heading into Tuesday's 9 p.m. CT game at Vancouver.

Zach Parise scored his 31st career shootout goal, and Mikko Koivu in his 500th game, scored his 28th.

Kyle Brodziak scored his first goal of the season in the second period and Ryan Suter, who played an exceptional game with rookie Jonas Brodin, had an assist and plus-1. Devin Setoguchi had his fourth consecutive real good game, assisted on Brodziak's goal, was skating hard all nice and chipped a fake tooth when he was high-sticked by Jiri Hudler as a second-period power play expired.

Read the game story on www.startribune.com/wild, but not a pretty win. The game itself was ugly and the Wild also went spurts of 10, 8 and 12 minutes in the game without shots. Tons of turnovers.

Yet, still, the Wild did a good enough job away from the puck coach Mike Yeo opined because it only gave up 24 shots through OT.

Not a fun game to watch though by any means.

The Wild plays in Vancouver on Tuesday night. The Wild's 0-8-2 in its past 10 there, so it'll be a tough one. Yeo wouldn't discuss potential lineup changes or who would be in goal yet for the Wild.

Backstrom has started five games in a row since Josh Harding was pulled 6:45 into the game against Chicago. But Yeo gave the clearly-off Harding a quick hook that night and it 100% got the Wild two points.

We will see in the morning.

Yeo didn't rule out a Jared Spurgeon return. If he returns, the Wild will have to make a roster move. The only obvious one would be sending Marco Scandella, scratched the past two games, back to the minors. He doesn't require waivers.

Spurgeon hasn't had a full practice though, so it may be too early for a return.

That's it for me. I have to walk back to the hotel and I have an early flight, so I better go. I'll be on the Team 1040 in Vancouver at 12:45 p.m. CT Tuesday and on the Fox Sports North pregame show (8:30 p.m. CT) and first intermission Tuesday.

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