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 must move past crushing Game 5 overtime loss to Colorado

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: April 27, 2014 - 2:08 AM

The Wild must move on. Must-win Game 6 Monday night at 8 at the X.

That’s why Mike Yeo absolutely took the right tack in his postgame presser after the Wild’s back-breaking 4-3 overtime loss tonight in Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Nathan MacKinnon, held to no points and three shots in Games 3 and 4, capped another 3-point night by becoming the second-youngest player in NHL history (18 years, 237 days) to score a playoff OT winner (Don Gallinger was 17 years, 339 days when he scored an OT winner for Boston on March 21, 1943 against Montreal.) He now has 10 points in three home games.

The Wild coach could have come in screaming and yelling about Paul Stastny looking offside (eerily for the second time this season against the Wild on a Colorado goal), this time leading to P.A. Parenteau’s tying goal with 1:14 left to force overtime.

Picture courtesy of John Moulson on Twitter (@johncanref)

He could have pointed out how Gabriel Landeskog, after holding Mikko Koivu’s stick for an eternity, jumped on Koivu’s back and began swinging away and somehow the faster, more skilled Avs get the benefit of yet another 4-on-4 in the series and score to make it 2-1 in the second.

He could have pointed out how Brad Meier watched every moment of Cody McLeod charging to the Wild bench to hit Matt Moulson from behind without the puck late in the second and somehow the ref gives the Avs a power play after Charlie Coyle goes in to defend Moulson (Coyle and McLeod were battling in the zone moments before, and maybe Meier felt he should have called Coyle, who was no doubt the more aggressive of the two, there).

And Yeo could have complained how Coyle was held by Landeskog before the tying goal in the neutral zone. That kept Coyle from getting to a loose puck and maybe an empty-netter (although, to be fair, the Wild was given a gift of a power play with 4:33 left when Landeskog snow-showered Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota failed to make it 4-2).

But Yeo, knowing that the Wild better erase its mind and focus on Monday, did none of that. His skin was red. His eyes looked fiery, but he walked the tight-rope well.

“To sit here and dwell on [the missed offside], I don’t think it’s going to do us any good,” Yeo said. “Obviously, frustrating, obviously disappointing, but bottom line is it’s not going to do us any good.

Yeo continued, “We know what’s ahead of us here. We knew coming in that we’re playing a team that won the division, a team that is an extremely skilled group. Never once did we think things were going to be easy. So the task at hand now is pretty simple. We go and play the same way we did at home [in Games 3 and 4].”

On the dubious officiating, Yeo said, “I would say that we’re due for, I’ll say, I don’t want to say luck, but we’re due for some stuff here to go our way a little bit. I’m not going to dwell on what could have been’s. This is playoff hockey. You get highs and you get lows and it’s how you deal with it. Hey, listen, we’ve got an opportunity to go home in front of our crowd and win a hockey game to push to a Game 7.”

Home teams are 17-3 now in the Western Conference playoffs and the Wild knows it must not only win Game 6, but if it’s going to win this series, it better break that trend.

It certainly looked like the Wild was on its way when Zach Parise and Kyle Brodziak scored 1:51 apart early in the third period to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead.

Parise was bottled up pretty good before, but Pominville fed him for a beauty of a shot and Parise’s first goal of the series. Soon after, the Wild’s fourth line put forth a suffocating forecheck. Jan Hejda, dead tired, coughed up the puck to Jared Spurgeon and moments later Brodziak, who had a tough Games 1 and 2 and was scratched because of it in Game 3, scored. Dany Heatley picked up his second assist of the night (he assisted on Matt Moulson’s first goal of the series in the second).

But then, the tying goal. Just like Game 1, Patrick Roy pulled Semyon Varlamov early, this time inside less than 2 ½ left, and for the third time in the series, the Wild couldn’t find an empty-netter. That cost them with the Parenteau tying goal.

“It was offside and they missed a call and it's a damn shame,” bristled Ryan Suter.

Added Zach Parise, “The play, just the way it developed, something about it didn’t feel right. It felt like they had too much of a step on the play. But I didn’t know that for sure until we came in here and somebody said it.”

How does the Wild respond to such a crushing loss? “Same way we did last time,” Parise said. “At home, we said we had to win one here. It wasn’t this one, so it’s got to be Game 7. It’s another one it felt like we had a chance to win it. It just didn’t happen.”

The questionable offside call was a bang-bang play. Linesman Pierre Racicot, a veteran and considered one of the best linesmen (several Cup Finals), had MacKinnon right on top of him and got bent, so it was a very difficult call.

“You can’t point fingers,” Brodziak said. “That’s part of the game. There’s going to be breaks that you get, that you don’t get. That’s the way hockey goes. Keep playing hard. Try not to worry about little things. If you’re focusing on the right things, usually at the end of the day these things even up.”

In overtime, Moulson had 3 great chances to score his first shift. He couldn't. It just didn't feel right after that - just like game 1 last year when Zucker hit the post and game 1 this year when Pominville hit the post. The Wild gave up the losing goal soon after in both. 

It was a fun hockey game to watch (well, like all these late starts, it's almost impossible to watch the third because you're punching the keyboard) and Colorado's top line had a lot more offensive zone time and MacKinnon again made the Wild pay. 

Here’s Patrick Roy’s postgame quotes:

On If It Is Hard To Believe That Nathan MacKinnon Is Only 18 Years Old: “I don’t think we need to check, we knew when we drafted him what kind of player we were drafting, and he had a solid game again tonight.  Their line moved the puck well, and that was a big goal for us, big goal.  The save of the night was by (Colorado D Nick) Holden—he made a really good save on that (Minnesota LW Matt Moulson’s shot in overtime) before we got the puck back and went on the other end.”

On The Whirlwind Of Emotions After Scoring Another Late Goal To Force Overtime And Winning It In OT: “It was hard to remain calm after the call.  But, I looked at the clock and thought we’d have two minutes and 30 some seconds and we had to kill that one—that was a huge kill.  Penalty killing was, without a doubt, outstanding for us tonight.  Guys sacrificed their body, blocked shots—I was very happy with them.  They gave us a chance to win this game.”

On If Tonight Reminded Him Of Game 1 In The Series: “No, I liked our game—I thought we played a good game.  We made a few adjustments and I thought our guys reacted well to them.  I thought we were sharp early on getting the puck out of our zone.  I thought offensively we had a few good chances.  Our power play moved the puck well as well, we finally had some chances—I think we’re going in the right direction.  I thought it was very positive.”

On If The Avalanche Can Carry The Momentum From Tonight Into Game 6: “We had two looks in games over there.  We know what’s going to happen over there, we just have to play like we did tonight.  If we play that way, I really believe that it’s going to be a good game.  I can say one thing, our fans had a heck of a show tonight, and hopefully they’re going to give another one over there as well.  It’s a team that is playing very well, but I was extremely happy to see how resilient we were again tonight—down a goal, we never panicked, we stayed calm, waited for our opportunity and it happened.”

Roy said there is a chance Matt Duchene plays Game 6.

Here are some Colorado quotes, courtesy of correspondent Michael Kelly:


(on goal) Pauly forced the puck down in their end, Landy got it on the half-wall and I was screaming for it. Definitely a good play by him. Little saucer pass to my blade and I found the top corner.

(tying goal) That was all Pauly. He made the whole play happen.

(pulling goalie again) We believed, even when we got that penalty with four minutes left. Usually you get a warning for that. It was important for us to believe and stay confident. We stuck with the game plan.

(how do you keep doing it) We don’t want to be on this emotional rollercoaster. We wanted to hold that 2-1 lead the whole third period. It’s cool to comeback but we want to hold that lead.


(on MacKinnon) The kid’s special. The sky’s the limit for this kid. I know it’s cliché to say but it’s pretty impressive to see. They tried to shut him down all night, they tried to shut him down in Minny and he got a huge goal for us. On our second goal he made an unbelievable play. This is the kid we want on our side.

(your goal) It’s a great feeling. I knew Pauly likes to put those pucks in front of the net. He’s a pretty good passer so I just came in. I knew he was going to make a play and it was right on my tape. We’ll take it, it’s a huge goal for our team. After they scored two bang-bang goals it kind of deflated us but we stuck with it and it’s the sign of a team that wants to win.

(doing it again) It’s a resilient group. It’s a group that doesn’t give up. We’re pretty confident. When it happens a couple of times you know you can do it. We have the skills and the patience to do it.


(on tying goal) I knew when I shot it both their D were on the outside so I just threw it in front soft. P.A., the game he played all night was unbelievable and he was just at the right spot and was rewarded. We just rolled with it. We get that momentum and we know we’re going to win.

You’re not going to win 1-0, 2-1. Sometimes you do but you know they’re going to keep coming. We had a big kill with four minutes left and Patty pulls the goalie.

(MacKinnon) That one he just backed the D off. He could have taken it himself, but he drops it and Benny shoots it and Holdy tips it. In overtime Landy and Willy make a good play.


We’ve had our backs against the wall numerous times. When you do it once, you do it twice and three and four times it’s like teams, they start shaking a little bit, they get nervous once they’re up a goal. It’s almost mental. We believe in ourselves more when we’re down a goal. It’s exciting to be a part of. It’s not something we want to make a habit of doing.

That’s it for me. Early flight. I’ll talk to you after Sunday’s Wild availability. I’ll also be on Rosen’s Sports Sunday on, well, Sunday night on WCCO.


Golden State 99 FINAL
Cleveland 110
Oklahoma City 113 FINAL
Phoenix 117
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Arizona 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Montreal 5 FINAL
Columbus 2
Philadelphia 2 FINAL
Toronto 3
Chicago 3 FINAL
Florida 0
St. Louis 2 FINAL(SO)
Winnipeg 1
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Nashville 2
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 0
Detroit 3 FINAL
San Jose 2
Northern Ky 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
East Tenn St 73 FINAL
Citadel 74
Winthrop 50 FINAL
Campbell 65
Delaware 58 FINAL
Drexel 44
Jacksonville St 57 FINAL
Eastern Ky 63
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Elon 72
Sacred Heart 90 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 85
Western Carolina 49 FINAL
Furman 53
Char Southern 81 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Western Ill 66 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 73 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67
Radford 69 FINAL
Liberty 80
St Francis-NY 74 FINAL
Long Island 69
Wofford 76 FINAL
Mercer 72
Minnesota 96 FINAL
Michigan State 90
High Point 75 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 71
Samford 67 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Ohio State 81
Wagner 59 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Mount St Marys 60 FINAL
St Francis-PA 63
Houston 54 FINAL
Temple 66
Vanderbilt 73 FINAL
Tennessee 65
Chattanooga 86 FINAL
Va Military 82
Milwaukee 61 FINAL
Wright State 58
Coastal Carolina 69 FINAL
Presbyterian 80
Central Conn St 69 FINAL
Bryant 77
Ga Southern 77 FINAL
Appalachian St 58
SIU Edwardsville 61 FINAL
Austin Peay 64
Green Bay 72 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 67
Texas-El Paso 60 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
Marshall 87
Rider 63 FINAL
Monmouth 60
Eastern Ill 57 FINAL
Murray State 65
Charlotte 65 FINAL
North Texas 81
North Dakota St 58 FINAL
Oral Roberts 74
Old Dominion 63 FINAL
Rice 54
TX-San Antonio 66 FINAL
Southern Miss 70
UT Martin 69 FINAL
Tennessee St 52
Fla Atlantic 68 FINAL
Western Ky 71
Northern Ariz 85 FINAL
North Dakota 75
Grand Canyon 70 FINAL
Chicago State 74
Utah Valley U 50 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Texas-Arlington 80 FINAL
Arkansas State 81
Georgia State 83 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 92
Troy 61 FINAL
Texas State 67
Arizona 82 FINAL
Colorado 54
Memphis 57
Tenn Tech 73 FINAL
Morehead State 86
Rutgers 85 FINAL
Purdue 92
Southern Utah 67 FINAL
Northern Colorado 77
Montana State 68 FINAL
Eastern Wash 92
UC Davis 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 74
UC Irvine 63 FINAL
Cal Poly 56
Cal State Fullerton 72 FINAL
CS-Northridge 82
Montana 87 FINAL
Idaho 92
Portland 69
Pacific 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 57
Arizona State 41 FINAL
Utah 83
San Diego 39 FINAL
Gonzaga 59
St Marys-CA 84 FINAL
San Francisco 53
Oregon State 48 FINAL
Stanford 75
Long Beach State 57 2nd Half 1:39
Hawaii 76
Rice 68 FINAL
Old Dominion 83
Manhattan 67 FINAL
Monmouth 84
Georgia Southern 39 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Marshall 74 FINAL
FIU 50
TX-Arlington 62 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
South Alabama 38
Troy 75 FINAL
Texas State 59
Georgia State 39 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 56
William & Mary 84 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 55
Delaware 68 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Maine 61
UMass Lowell 72 FINAL
Vermont 64
Albany 65 FINAL
Hartford 50
Stony Brook 68 FINAL
Binghamton 59
Boston College 60 FINAL
(8) Louisville 77
(23) Syracuse 60 FINAL
Clemson 55
(16) Duke 62 FINAL
Georgia Tech 71
Florida 53 FINAL
Alabama 49
NC State 52 FINAL
(9) Florida State 72
Miami-Florida 59 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
Ole Miss 58
(11) Miss State 50 FINAL
(2) South Carolina 69
Fairfield 74 FINAL
Iona 62
Marist 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 66
Quinnipiac 91 FINAL
Rider 53
Virginia 70 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 72
Pittsburgh 59 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 87
Ohio State 88 FINAL
Penn State 70
Massachusetts 60 FINAL
Dayton 69
(22) George Washington 81 FINAL
Richmond 69
Saint Louis 53 FINAL
Rhode Island 68
Wright State 74 FINAL
Detroit 59
Green Bay 70 FINAL
Oakland 55
Western Ky 85 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 74
Indiana 72 FINAL
(5) Maryland 83
North Texas 46 FINAL
Charlotte 71
Central Arkansas 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 56
SE Louisiana 60 FINAL
Northwestern St 71
Nicholls 63 FINAL
New Orleans 68
Incarnate Word 44 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 58
Denver 68 FINAL
No Dakota State 87
IUPU-Ft Wayne 61 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 70
South Dakota 69
Lamar 77 FINAL
McNeese State 98
Western Ill 49 FINAL
South Dakota St 69
Missouri 70 FINAL
(12) Texas A&M 69
(13) Kentucky 56 FINAL
Arkansas 51
(20) Rutgers 60 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 80
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 59
Wisconsin 74 FINAL
(17) Iowa 78
North Dakota 68 FINAL
Northern Ariz 72
Northern Colorado 88 FINAL
Southern Utah 66
Louisiana Tech 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Eastern Washington 53 FINAL
Montana State 63
Idaho 68 FINAL
Montana 81
Auburn 70 FINAL
Vanderbilt 58
(6) Tennessee 70 FINAL
Georgia 59
Gonzaga 62 FINAL
San Diego 75
Washington 60
Portland 63 FINAL
BYU 65
(24) California 74 FINAL
Oregon 59
(19) Stanford 69 FINAL
(7) Oregon State 58
Chicago State 49 FINAL
Grand Canyon 73
Utah Valley U 61
San Francisco 65 FINAL
St Marys-CA 62
Washington St 69
Santa Clara 75 FINAL
Pacific 87
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 53
UC Santa Barbara 47 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 57
Hawaii 47 FINAL
Long Beach St 46
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
UC Davis 50
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which is your favorite 'return' by a Minnesota athlete?

Weekly Question