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 winning streak comes to an end

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Wild news Updated: January 11, 2014 - 11:07 PM

Greetings from Xcel Energy Center, where the Wild’s four-game winning streak was snapped by Colorado.

It was hard to get a great read out of the locker room. With a game tomorrow in Nashville, everybody was getting out of there fast. But,  from talking to players, there didn’t seem to be too much despair after the home loss.

The players and Mike Yeo both said the team played well, or at least well enough to win. The team controlled the puck, got scoring chances. Problem was, the team also made some mistakes and Colorado made them pay.

Here are some observations from tonight’s game:

--After being so good while winning three straight games, I thought Niklas Backstrom was a bit less effective tonight. Even he admitted that Ryan O’Reilly’s first goal – a bad-angle shot from beneath the circle to Backstrom’s left that made the score 2-0 --, wasn’t a good one. “I’d like to have that one back," he said.  Still, I think, he played well enough to win. Colorado’s first and third goals came as a result of mistakes, leaving Backstrom holding the bag. Now we’ll see how Darcy Kuemper handles the pressure of a must-win road game tomorrow.

--Both Charlie Coyle and Dany Heatley were talking post-game about the chemistry the two are forming now that they’ve had a chance to play together for a while on a lie that also includes Jason Zucker. Heatley assisted on both of Coyle’s goals, and both passes were very nifty. For Heatley, it was his second multi-point game of the season and it was Coyle’s first two-goal game.

--Matt Cooke took two very ill-advised penalties tonight. The first created a 5-on-3 advantage for Colorado, the second came shortly after O’Reilly’s game-winning goal, with the Wild buzzing in the Colorado end.

--The Wild power play, hit or miss all season, was very ineffective tonight. In two chances the Wild failed to create a decent scoring opportunity.

That’s about it for now. The mighty Mike Russo will be back in the saddle tomorrow night in Nashville. Have a great rest of your weekend.

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