With stars out, other Wild players pick up the slack

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 19, 2014 - 11:34 PM
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Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20)

Photo: Mark Humphrey, Associated Press

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Even without Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon and Josh Harding, the Wild has won seven of nine since Ryan Suter said the team hit bottom after a sixth consecutive loss Dec. 31 against St. Louis.

“You have to hit the bottom before you can start climbing back out of it,” Suter said Saturday. “We hit bottom, we lost a few guys and everyone is just picking up the slack from having some top guys out.”

Defenseman Nate Prosser, who has scored back-to-back game-winners, including Saturday’s in overtime, said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling right now. Coming to the rink every day, guys have smiles on their face. We’re confident and there’s nothing better right now.”

• Stars captain Jamie Benn won’t be suspended for Tuesday’s rematch despite elbowing Matt Cooke in the face 23 seconds into overtime Saturday. The NHL considered it a “protective maneuver,” and while it conceivably could have been a penalty, the league says it doesn’t rise to the level of supplemental discipline.

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