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.

Wild played a playoff-like style in Thursday's victory over the Rangers

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: March 13, 2014 - 11:28 PM

Good win for the Wild tonight, hanging on to beat the Rangers, who are similarly desperate in the East, 2-1, in a tight-checking, in-your-face affair.

These are the type of games the Wild must win down the stretch. Wild wins 2-1. Phoenix loses 2-1, and now the Wild can feel a little more breathing room.

Coach Mike Yeo loved that both goals the Wild scored were “the kind of goals that you can score in the playoffs,” one off a hard forecheck by Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke to create Nino Niederreiter’s 12th goal of the season and the second in a net-crashing display by the Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville line.

Granlund attacked the net from the side and Talbot turned away three shots by Granlund and Pominville before Parise scored his 23rd goal (10th in the third period) and 46th career game winner 1:03 into the third.

From there, Darcy Kuemper was brilliant. In his 18th start in 19 games, he made 16 of his 29 saves in the third period to bounce back from a rare average game against the Oilers.

One of the subplots tonight was Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle.

The most impressive part of Granlund’s game the past two months has been his consistency. But like most young 20-somethings, we’ve seen large variance in performances from Niederreiter and Coyle. I thought both were real good against St. Louis, I thought both had tough games against Edmonton.

Tonight, Yeo felt Niederreiter was going early, so in the second period, Yeo popped Niederreiter up to the Matt Moulson-Mikko Koivu line and dropped Coyle to the Cooke-Brodziak line. From that point, Coyle was outstanding.

“The switch in lines kind of sparked Charlie,” Yeo said. “Whether he wanted to make a point or I’m not sure what it was, but from that point on , he was really moving his feet and attacking. Nino was a presence right from the start.”

Yeo said when he knows both players are going is when they’re engaged physically, and when that happens, “everything else falls into place.” That was the case for Niederreiter all game, Yeo said, and Coyle the last two periods.

Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin looked to have a tough start to the game, but they rebounded nicely and rebounded from a tough night Tuesday by being plus-2’s.

Granlund won 11 of 16 faceoffs and has now won 22 of 29 the past two games. The Wild won 40 of 69 tonight. There were a lot of stoppages tonight. The first two periods were tough to watch at times just because both teams checked really well and gave the other very little. These are the type of games the Wild will have to win down the stretch, Yeo said.

The Wild has played in six straight one-goal games. I joked on Twitter that the Wild is on fire because it now has points in three straight overall (1-0-2) and nine in a row at home (7-0-2). That’s called, fun with numbers, NHL-style.

Nice response from the Wild after Hastings’ Derek Stepan tied the score on a power play in the second. Brodziak has been in the penalty box three times in four games when the opposing team has scored a power-play goal, so he best cut that out. He took a delay of game penalty also with 3:20 left, which caused a frantic last few minutes.

So, the sky isn’t falling after all. The Wild closes its homestand Saturday against very scrappy and very desperate Columbus, which always plays the Wild well home and away, especially under former Wild coach Todd Richards.

The Wild’s now five points up on Dallas and six on Phoenix, which lost tonight to the Bruins, who have won seven in a row. The Wild opens a three-game trip in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day Monday. The Wild’s 6-0 all-time at Boston, but this Bruins team is a true Cup contender and plays a Western Conference brand of hockey.

That’s it for now. Check out the game story for all the quotes and stories from the game, including Mike Greenlay taking a stick to the face during the game. Yeo said Greenlay is day-to-day with an "upper-body injury."

Talk to you Friday from practice.

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Phoenix 122 FINAL
Philadelphia 96
Orlando 105 FINAL
Charlotte 100
Detroit 89 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Milwaukee 83 FINAL
Toronto 124
Boston 86 4th Qtr 4:37
Memphis 103
Cleveland 73 4th Qtr 6:40
Washington 86
Brooklyn 86 4th Qtr 6:40
Oklahoma City 83
San Antonio 101 4th Qtr 5:41
Minnesota 80
LA Lakers 69 3rd Qtr 7:25
Dallas 79
New Orleans 49 2nd Qtr 0:42
Denver 57
Chicago 9:30 PM
Portland
Utah 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Rangers 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
NY Islanders 5 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 4
Boston 4 FINAL(SO)
Columbus 3
New Jersey 0 1st Prd 4:30
Edmonton 0
Texas A&M 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 50
USC 72 FINAL
Drexel 70
Clemson 70 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Dayton 64 FINAL
Connecticut 75
Akron 51 FINAL
Miami-Florida 79
Seton Hall 68 FINAL
Nevada 60
Valparaiso 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 46
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Longwood 81
Syracuse 66 FINAL
Iowa 63
Central Conn St 49 FINAL
Towson 58
Boston College 66 FINAL
West Virginia 70
Ill-Chicago 58 FINAL
Yale 70
Alcorn State 69 FINAL
Hampton 82
LSU 61 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
Prairie View 45 FINAL
Baylor 60
Montana State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
Maine 48 FINAL
Central Mich 76
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Eastern Mich 71
Wofford 54 FINAL
Fairfield 36
Troy 60 FINAL
Georgia 82
IUPU-Ft Wayne 69 FINAL
Georgia Tech 78
Stony Brook 65 FINAL
Hofstra 66
Boston Univ 65 FINAL
Kentucky 89
Loyola-Chicago 52 FINAL
Michigan State 87
Toledo 68 FINAL
Oregon 78
Lehigh 74 FINAL
Rider 78
Charlotte 65 FINAL
South Carolina 63
UNLV 60 FINAL
Stanford 89
George Washington 42 FINAL
Virginia 59
Hiwassee 53 FINAL
Western Carolina 72
Texas 71 FINAL
California 55
Florida Memorial 48 FINAL
FIU 74
Southern Ill 51 FINAL
Kent State 74
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
Monmouth 73
New Mexico 69 FINAL
George Mason 58
Delaware State 71 FINAL
Arkansas 99
ULM 51 2nd Half 0:04
Florida 51
Austin Peay 66 FINAL
Illinois 107
Morehead State 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 73
Jarvis Christian 70 FINAL
McNeese State 85
Milwaukee 68 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Stephen F Austin 63 FINAL
Xavier 81
Kennesaw St 55 FINAL
North Dakota St 68
North Dakota 72 2nd Half 0:04
South Dakota St 74
Iona 65 2nd Half 11:04
Wake Forest 53
Louisiana 38 2nd Half
Auburn 45
Georgia State 40 2nd Half 15:54
Colorado State 40
Marshall 27 1st Half 0:40
Louisville 39
Oral Roberts 20 2nd Half
Oregon State 18
UC Riverside 21 2nd Half
Utah 48
Idaho State 31 2nd Half
Washington St 32
Illinois State 40 1st Half 0:53
Weber State 26
Florida A&M 22 2nd Half
Grand Canyon 34
Sam Houston St 30 2nd Half
South Dakota 33
Temple 12 1st Half 7:48
Duke 20
Penn State 16 1st Half 10:33
Cornell 17
Presbyterian 9:00 PM
American Univ
Delaware 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Washington 9:00 PM
Seattle
Kansas State 9:30 PM
Long Beach State
Pittsburgh 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 3 3rd Qtr 12:51
Rice 17
Air Force 0 1st Qtr 0:46
San Diego St 10
San Jose St 0 1st Qtr 3:54
Utah State 7
Char Southern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11/22/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UAB
Kansas 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11/22/14 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 11/22/14 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 11/22/14 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 11/22/14 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 11/22/14 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 11/22/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 11/22/14 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 11/22/14 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 11/22/14 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 11/22/14 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 11/22/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 11/22/14 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 11/22/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 11/22/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 11/22/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
(21) Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(18) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(19) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(15) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(11) UCLA
(22) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
BYU 11/29/14 2:00 AM
California
(20) Utah 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Colorado
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Oregon State
Kentucky 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Louisville
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(24) USC
So Carolina 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Clemson
Florida 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(1) Florida State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 2:00 AM
(25) Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
TBA
Delaware 60 FINAL
East Carolina 89
Wiley 65 FINAL
Sam Houston St 48
SE Louisiana 78 FINAL
Troy 80
St Francis-NY 63 FINAL
North Dakota 70
Eastern Kentucky 56 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Chattanooga 53 FINAL
(3) Notre Dame 88
LSU-Alexandria 0 Cancelled
Nicholls 0
UT Martin 47 FINAL
Dayton 78
William & Mary 59 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Eastern Illinois 55 FINAL
Florida State 91
Marquette 77 FINAL
Wake Forest 89
Columbia College 55 FINAL
SC State 97
Rider 51 FINAL
Towson 53
Cleveland State 74 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 79
Jackson State 48 FINAL
Mercer 80
Elon 67 FINAL
Charlotte 54
Hofstra 46 FINAL
Fordham 60
High Point 62 FINAL
NC State 66
Lehigh 74 FINAL
NJIT 54
Alabama A&M 50 FINAL
Samford 61
Morehead St 57 FINAL
Indiana 98
San Diego State 43 FINAL
Furman 60
Columbia 68 FINAL
Stony Brook 82
East Tenn St 79 FINAL
St Francis-PA 63
Evansville 59 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 77
Winthrop 48 FINAL
(4) Tennessee 81
Mount St Marys 42 FINAL
Campbell 60
Alabama 85 FINAL
Kansas 80
Canisius 68 FINAL
Bryant 71
USC 90 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Saint Louis 74 FINAL
SE Missouri St 56
Graceland 54 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 89
Tulsa 68 2nd Half 0:06
Oral Roberts 71
ULM 54 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 82
Hampton 46 FINAL
Kansas State 66
Bradley 55 FINAL
Oklahoma 104
Houston 65 2nd Half 0:34
TX A&M-CC 64
North Florida 53 FINAL
Miami-Florida 81
Arizona 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 57
Massachusetts 41 2nd Half 7:18
North Texas 39
Kent State 54 FINAL
Northwestern 72
Pepperdine 30 2nd Half
(19) Iowa 41
Denver 17 2nd Half
Wyoming 48
(24) Gonzaga 51 2nd Half
Montana State 18
Boise State 32 2nd Half
Southern Utah 31
Temple 20 1st Half 9:29
Georgetown 17
Missouri 26 1st Half 7:36
UNLV 14
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Montana 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Villanova 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Seattle 10:30 PM
Washington St
(14) California 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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 Wild player?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT