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 overcomes slow start by salvaging a point in overtime; Koivu's Olympics in jeopardy

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 2, 2014 - 12:54 AM

Only the Wild can strut into Anaheim, come away with its most impressive win in the year and wind up turning the same road trip into the feeling of such disappointment.

But that was the feeling in the locker room after tonight’s 4-3 overtime loss to Calgary. The Wild returned to Minnesota following a 1-1-2 road trip, which is better than the 1-2-1 trip it came so close to being.

Still, player after player called it a disappointment.

Evening from the Saddledome.

Here is the game story

Here is the notebook, which leads with Mikko Koivu's Olympics being in jeopardy.

Here is my Sunday column on an early look at Chuck Fletcher's thinking heading into the trade deadline.

Here is a Q&A with Ryan Suter.

The Wild battled back from a 3-1 deficit to get a point, but for the second consecutive game, it followed a horrible second period with a strong third period. Unlike Colorado on Thursday, the Wild at least forced overtime this time before Mikael Backlund’s winner 2:25 into the extra session.

In Colorado, the Wild gave up 18 shots in the second period and three goals. Tonight, another 18 shots and one, taking three penalties in an 11-minute span as Calgary took a 2-1 lead after Matt Cooke previously tied the score with his 15th career shortie.

The Wild was undisciplined, generated few scoring chances, was soft on pucks, threw pucks away and was sloppy in the first 40. Nineteen seconds into the third, the Wild drew a holding penalty with a chance to tie.

Instead, it gave up a shorthanded goal. That seemed to wake the Wild up because it was all Minnesota the rest of the period. At one point, the Wild was being outshot 26-10. The final shots were 32-23 as Dany Heatley and Keith Ballard scored 5:55 apart late in the third.

Coach Mike Yeo said, “Defensively we were OK, but offensively we very much on the perimeter and not gritty enough, not dirty enough. Took us to get down 3-1 to really start to develop that mentality.”

Yeo was happy with the way the Wild battled back, but he said the Wild has to rectify the second periods of the past two games.

“This hasn’t been a trend lately. It’s been the last two games and we have to fix it,” he said.

Early in the game, Yeo said the Wild wasn’t committed enough to playing a heavy game, getting to the middle and battling.

“We were looking for easier stuff instead of harder stuff,” Yeo said. “Every time we got the puck in the offensive zone, we threw it away, gave it to them and broke it out for them. When we’re playing well, we’re strong on that puck, we’re controlling the puck in the offensive zone, moving our feet. I didn’t see any of that early in the game.”

Calgary’s first goal, with two guys deep, Jason Zucker threw it away. Calgary’s third, the shortie, Ryan Suter tripped or was tripped (never saw a replay) and a 3-on-1 was triggered.

This was one of those games where the kids had trouble, weren’t strong on the puck. Charlie Coyle took two penalties and had one shot, although he made a great move and Karri Ramo robbed him. Nino Niederreiter didn’t get a shot off on three good lucks. Zucker worked his tail off but was bounced off the puck over and over and was minus-2.

After so much was made about putting together Zach Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville, Parise and Pominville were minus-2 and Granlund was minus-3. Kyle Brodziak, struggling mightily in the faceoff circle lately, lost 13 of 16.

On the winning goal, there was a total breakdown between Ballard, Pominville, Granlund and Marco Scandella.

“Me and Granny (he meant Pominville) were in the corner, on the side boards with two of their guys,” Ballard said. “I think he thought I was going to go, he thought I was going to go. Neither one of us went fast enough.” Scandella then took himself out of the play by sliding, Granlund lost Sean Monahan and Pominville was defending the middle of the ice rather than Backlund.

The bad news is Phoenix beat Pittsburgh tonight and Dallas beat Anaheim. The Wild is going for one of the last two wildcard spots. There’s just no chance they’re going to catch St. Louis, Chicago or Colorado, so Phoenix, Dallas, Vancouver and maybe LA will be the teams to watch the rest of the year.

Wild’s still in 7th, two up on Vancouver and three up on Phoenix. Two home games before the break, starting Tuesday against the Lightning.

“We’ve got to take the points right now,” Heatley said. “It was a tough trip, a lot of travel, some good teams, We’ll take four points, but really would have liked six, I think.”

The Wild has Sunday off. I’d assume Stephane Veilleux at least will be Iowa bound soon. Talk to you Monday.


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Toronto 2:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Orlando 6:00 PM
Memphis 6:30 PM
Indiana 7:00 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
New York 9:00 PM
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Detroit 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Chicago 8:00 PM
Edmonton 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 18 1st Half 10:53
Georgetown 15
Maine 7 1st Half 6:40
Seton Hall 27
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Georgia State 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Kentucky 1:00 PM
Northern Ky 2:00 PM
UAB 3:00 PM
North Carolina
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Oakland 4:00 PM
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
Mercer 5:00 PM
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 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
SMU 12:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
UCF 2:00 PM
BYU 4:00 PM
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
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