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.

Postgame: Wild snaps five-game road losing streak

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: December 15, 2013 - 9:17 AM

Just like the game in Denver a few weeks ago, it took 56-plus minutes to get one by Semyon Varlamov.

On Nov. 30, it was Matt Cooke and Mikko Koivu leading Minnesota’s comeback before losing in a shootout. Tonight, Nino Niederreiter won a board battle along the half wall, then drove the net and deflected Ryan Suter’s shot for the tying goal with 3:53 left.

Zach Parise (shootout goal No. 35 in his career) and Mikko Koivu (No. 33) scored in the shootout (Koivu on his patented backhanded roofer, the one Varlamov knew was coming and the same move Varlamov stopped a few weeks ago).

The 2-1 win snapped the Wild’s five-game road losing streak, although the Wild has been outscored 15-5 in the past six road games and has scored 29 road goals in 17 games (1.7 a game, 29th in the NHL).

Still, much-needed win to lower the temperature a bit and stop the bleeding. The Avs were a team that was 17-0 when scoring first, 18-0 when leading after two and the only unbeaten team in overtime or the shootout (5-0), so the comeback took effort.

This was not an easy game. Two goals scored, both off deflections, the Colorado one coming on a shot that was headed wide.

“It was a hard game,” Parise said. “The way they play D-zone, they play man on man and grab onto you and hold you and it’s tough to generate anything.”

Of course, the Wild only got one power play and now has drawn three or fewer in 15 of the past 16 games.

“I don’t how we’re going to draw a few more penalties than we do,” coach Mike Yeo said, shaking his head.

Obviously not a great road trip, scoring three goals in three games in three tough buildings and going 1-2. And it doesn’t get any easier. The Wild is 13-3-2 at home but return there Tuesday to face the Vancouver Canucks, a team John Tortorella has rolling right now. They killed Boston tonight to cap a 5 for 5 homestand. The Canucks have won seven in a row and eight of their past nine.

The Wild then plays four in a row away from St. Paul, where it’s 6-8-3. They go to Pittsburgh, the Rangers, Philly and then Winnipeg after the Christmas break.

Josh Harding had another strong game. He made 26 saves, another two in the shootout and now leads the league with a 1.49 goals-against average and is second with a .939 save percentage. Lots of robberies in the first period.

Brett Bulmer had a real good game on a solid line that included Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak. Bulmer had two shots and five hits and as Yeo said “was a pain in the butt.”

Bulmer, who played nine games with the Wild two years ago, earned this second straight game because Yeo said beforehand that he played “hard, physical” and showed “he’s not fun to play against” in San Jose.

Bulmer certainly got under the skin of Avs players all night Saturday.

“That’s me,” said Bulmer, Iowa’s leading goal scorer.

So he should get a third straight game. Erik Haula had some good shifts and some tough ones. He threw a couple up the gut of the offensive zone that resulted in turnovers. Niederreiter looked real good on a line with Jason Pominville.

The top line had some good shifts but no goals. Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon had strong games. Jonas Brodin didn’t. Ryan Suter had a good night after a real tough game in San Jose. He is playing hurt right now. He’s wrapped like a mummy everywhere after every game.

In other news that may or may not be in your newspaper's edition (go to www.startribune.com/wild for Dany Heatley notebook):

Yeo called San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan on Friday to apologize for accusing the Sharks of embellishing calls during his postgame scrum after Thursday’s 3-1 loss.

“My intention was not to call them out, my intention was not to call the refs out,” Yeo said. “I don’t want to be doing that stuff. At that point, I wanted to stick up for our players. It was emotional after the game. I was ticked off that our guys put a lot into the game and I felt there were a couple things in the game that made it tough on our group.”

McLellan told Sharks reporters he was upset when hearing of Yeo’s comments and appreciated Yeo reaching out.

“He was very professional, the organization was, they reached out, and we’re good,” McLellan said.

Also,

With the Wild planning to replace its center-ice scoreboard at Xcel Energy Center, Wild Chief Operating Officer attended Saturday’s game in Denver to see the Pepsi Center’s new state-of-the-art, giant scoreboard and observe the game operations.

Owner Craig Leipold attended October’s game at Tampa Bay to see the Lightning’s new scoreboard and the Wild plans to send a representative to Madison Square Garden to see the Rangers’ new scoreboard and games ops when the Wild plays there next Sunday.

Also,

Against Colorado, Yeo scratched rookie Justin Fontaine, who has six goals but none since Nov. 9, for the third time in nine games.

Yeo talked with Fontaine during the morning skate to tell him to keep his head up.

“We just deemed he wasn’t the right fit for this game,” Yeo said. “It doesn’t mean that won’t change next game. He’s got to keep a positive attitude. He’s got to understand that when you’re a young kid, you’re just paying your dues. He’s a first-year player … who’s still trying to prove himself.”

That's it for me. Barring news, no blog Sunday as the Wild has the day off. I'll be back with you Monday after practice in preparation for Tuesday's home game against former Northwest Division rival Vancouver.

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 79 FINAL
Portland 101
Toronto 116 FINAL
Denver 102
Phoenix 116 FINAL
LA Lakers 107
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 1 FINAL(OT)
Anaheim 2
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
UMBC 55
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
UCLA 50 FINAL
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 62 FINAL
Washington 57
Buffalo 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
CS-Bakersfield 55 FINAL
California 52
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
UCLA 67
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 58 FINAL
Memphis 57
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT