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 gets solid effort in one-sided win over Oilers, moves into 6th in the West

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: March 3, 2013 - 9:52 PM

All Minnesota from start to finish in tonight's 4-2 win over Edmonton -- even though it took Mikko Koivu's goal nine seconds into the third period to break a 1-1 deadlock.

The Wild, 8-2-1 at home and 7-3-1 in the past 11 overall, outshot 43-21 (29-7 after two periods, including 18 in the second), didn't allow a shot in the second period (third time in history it didn't allow a shot in a period) and held Edmonton to no shots in a 23-minute, 35-second stretch at one point. The 43 shots were a season-high.

Still, again, the score was 1-1 and the Wild had a terrible power play late in the second. Instead of being frustrated, it kept at it, got an immediate goal from Koivu and continued to outskate the Oilers in every area. It picked up right from its impressive effort the last two periods in Anaheim -- not easy since it spent much of yesterday on an airplane and didn't practice.

The Wild, 19-1 in its past 20 at home to the Oilers, is now sixth in the West and two points behind division-leading Vancouver, which lost to Calgary tonight, 4-2.

Koivu scored one goal and two assists for his 20th career 3-point game and 88th career multi-point game. He also won 12 of 18 faceoffs.

Charlie Coyle's third-period goal amounted to his first career winning goal, his first career goal at home and first career multi-point game.

Monday morning from 9-noon, I will be filling in for Paul Allen on KFAN. Coyle will be my guest during the first hour, as well as NBC Sports analyst Pierre-McGuire. Also joining the show will be the Miami Herald's George Richards (covers the Florida Panthers but is in town to cover the Miami Heat play the Wolves on Monday), Fox Sports North's Kevin Gorg, Fox Sports North's Wes Walz and the Star Tribune's one and only LaVelle E. Neal The Third.

Kent Youngblood covered the game tonight, so read his coverage in Monday's paper, but I wound up staying for the whole game and told him I'd blog.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon played a third consecutive strong game. He scored a goal, assist and was plus-3, Dany Heatley (six shots) scored his 139th career power-play goal to ice it, Ryan Suter, who leads the NHL in ice time, had his 14th assist (fourth in the NHL among blue-liners) and 10th in 11 games.

Jason Zucker had a career-high five shots and Mikael Granlund looked good in 13:38 of ice time.

Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves to improve to 17-0 all-time at home against Edmonton and 24-3-1 overall against the Oilers. He is 6-1-1 in his past eight starts overall.

Devin Setoguchi had his 99th career assist and now has four goals and five assists in his past 11 games. Matt Cullen had an assist and now has 11 points in his past 15 games.

Koivu's goal nine seconds into the third tied the team-record for fastest goal to start a period (Brian Rolston, Casey Wellman).

That's it for me. Again, I'll be on KFAN in the morning, so please tune in for plenty of hockey talk.

No practice Monday. Talk to you Tuesday from Chicago, where the Wild looks to become the first team to beat the Blackhawks in regulation.


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