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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Ryan Suter's hat trick highlights comeback, but Mikko Koivu's injury could be big headache

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: January 4, 2014 - 11:59 PM

It’s not often you come to a Wild game wearing a hat or toque and actually leave without it.

But Ryan Suter sent a lot of fans into the frigid winter night without any headwear after notching the first hat trick by a defenseman in Wild history during Minnesota’s 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Washington Capitals.

Suter went a perfect 3 for 3, scoring power-play goals 42 seconds apart in the second period and a 2-on-1 bullet off Clayton Stoner’s pass after Suter came out of the penalty box in the third. That was the only one of Suter’s shots Braden Holtby actually saw because the netminder was screened by Dany Heatley on the other two.

Great win by the Wild tonight after rallying back after a terrible first period in which it was outscored 2-zip and outshot 11-1. Read the gamer on www.startribune.com/wild for the details and some of the good quotes.

“We couldn’t have scripted that any better,” Capitals center Brooks Laich said. “Two-nothing lead. They have one shot. They’re not in our zone. They’re getting booed off the ice by their own fans on a Saturday night. I mean, we’re in total control of that game.”

But Wild players gave Mike Yeo a lot of credit for waking them up in the first intermission and then firing them up by barking up and down the bench to start the second period. That wound up being a four-goal second period highlight by three power-play goals. Nino Niederreiter got it started after a tremendous play by Charlie Coyle to chip the puck in and then outwork and outbattled Mike Green for the puck. Suter then made it 2-2, then 3-2, before Green scored his second goal of the game in fluky fashion when his dump-in banked off the end boards and off Niklas Backstrom’s pad and in.

But the Caps put their second puck in the seats of the period, and after a poor shift by the first power-play unit, the second unit came out, Jason Zucker won a board battle, the puck worked back to the point and Zucker redirected Keith Ballard’s shot for a 4-3 lead.

The bad news of the game is captain Mikko Koivu sustained a foot injury. Koivu was nailed by Nicklas Backstrom’s dump-in from a few feet away early in the second period. Koivu went down in a heap, then struggled painfully to the bench.

He emerged 3 ½ minutes later with the Wild on a 1:55 5-on-3. During that 63-second shift, he assisted on both of Suter’s power-play goals. But he didn’t play the final eight minutes of the third and finally coach Mike Yeo sent him to the locker room.

Yeo said he was in pain, but he didn’t have an update.

If Koivu can’t come on the upcoming two-game trip to L.A. and Phoenix, Yeo said “That would be enormous. I don’t even need to go into what he means to our team.”

The Wild is already without Zach Parise and Jared Spurgeon with foot injuries. If Koivu can’t come, the Wild will either need to move Torrey Mitchell back to center and play Mike Rupp or probably call up Erik Haula. Remember, the Wild lost Zenon Konopka on waivers.

The Wild is already playing seven of 18 skaters age 23 and younger. They all stepped up tonight and must continue to. Yeo praised Mikael Granlund, who assumed a lot of Koivu’s roles tonight. He had an assist, won 11 of 15 faceoffs

Still, this could be an issue if Koivu is sidelined. I’ll write more about the young kids Sunday for Monday.

The Wild was outshot 30-11 tonight. Backstrom made 27 saves. The 11 shots were tied for the lowest in a game in franchise history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no NHL team had previously scored five goals on less than 13 shots since shots started to be recorded in 1973.

Yeo joked their shooting percentage went up.

What else?

Wild’s now 7-0 against Washington at home.

Wild has won two in a row in regulation for the first time in a month (Dec. 2 and 5).

Second Wild win in a row both Dallas and Phoenix, two teams the Wild’s chasing, lost in regulation.

Suter was the eighth Wild player to get a hat trick and 16th hat trick all-time by the Wild. It was the first since Guillaume Latendresse at Phoenix in 2010 and the first at home since Nov. 27, 2009 (Chuck Kobasew). It was Suter’s first career hat trick. In fact, he only had one career 2-goal game. Read the gamer for the quotes.

The Wild’s 16-5-2 at home but now head to L.A. and Phoenix. The Wild is 1-8-1 in its past 10 on the road and hasn’t won in regulation on the road since Nov. 20 at Ottawa.

The three power-play goals in a period tied a franchise record. The four second-period goals was a season high for a period.

Koivu now has a five-game point streak and is five points from being the Wild’s all-time leading scorer.

Suter has five goals in the past four games after none in the first 40 and points in 11 of the past 12 games.

Zucker’s goal was his first career power-play goal. Niederreiter now has eight goals.

Granlund has won 28 of 42 draws the past four games.

Matt Cooke has four assists in his five games.

Backstrom has two wins in a row for the first time this year.

That’s it for me. The Wild isn’t practicing Sunday. Barring news, no blog. My guess is we won’t get a Koivu injury update until Monday, and it could come late because the team flies out in the morning for Los Angeles.

I will come to you from L.A. on Monday. Sorry about that. It’s going to be cold here if you hadn’t heard.


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
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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
(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
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(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
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
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
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