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, post-game

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under On the road, Wild game coverage Updated: January 9, 2011 - 9:24 PM

Greetings. Youngblood here. Russo is already in Nashville, waiting for the Wild to join him.

I will make it brief tonight. I mean, what can you say about this yawner? The Wild has struggled with the back ends of back-to-backs all season, the Stars are deadly when playing a team in that situation and the Wild had spent a ton of energy winning three straight road games before jetting home late last night after a physical game in Pittsburgh.

All the pieces were in place for a game in which the Wild worked hard, but was a half-step away from the puck all night.

All that said, I wonder if things might have been different had Bouchard scored on at least one of the two pucks he put off the pipe early, and if Dallas hadn't made a one-goal game 2-0 with a goal in the final minute of the first period.

But, as Greg Zanon said after the game, those bounces even out. The Wild did get the benefit of a couple pucks off the pipe in its victory over Pittsburgh Saturday. So things have a way of evening out.

Speaking of evening out, how about Marco Scandella and Cam Barker. Both were plus-4 Saturday,  minus-3 tonight. And both had some tough moments. Barker whiffed on Benn on that goal late in the first period and Scandella struggled mightily on the shift that ended with Neal making it 3-0 midway through the third period.

After the game I didn't feel a huge sense of disappointment among the players. They knew they were tired, that Dallas was in town last night before the Wild was finished playing in Pittsburgh. Plus,  they're going back out on the road, where they feel  they can win.

Some numbers: 

The Wild is 1-6-3 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. Dallas is 6-1-2 this season playing teams in that situation and 21-3-2 in that situation over the past three seasons.

The Wild is now 10-10-2 at home, 11-6-3 on the road.

Minnesota was shut out at home for the first time since a 4-0 loss to Chicago on March 31, 2010.

And finally: The Wild penalty kill went 3-for-3 Sunday, and has been perfect in a season-high six straight games (17-for-17), it's longest stretch since a six-game run from Dec. 15-26 2009.

That's it.  Have a good night. The Wild is off tomorrow, flying to Nashville in the late afternoon.

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