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 survives late avalanche to move into 7th in the West; Barker injured

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 3, 2011 - 11:43 PM

Evening from the Pepsi Center, where this will be quick. I've got a cold, snowy walk to the hotel and an early flight to Phoenix.

As Brent Burns said after the game, the Wild bent and didn't break. Good Dashboard Confessional song, too.

The Wild was on its heels for most of the third after scoring twice in the first 61 seconds of the game, but they killed of four minutes of penalty and finally turned a 3-2 lead into 4-2 on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's goal 11 1/2 minutes into the period after Martin Havlat and Bouchard took the Wild's first two shots of the period back-to-back that late.

The Wild moved into seventh in the conference and has now won six of seven and is 14-6-1 in the past 21. They're 8-1-2 in their past 11 here.

Andrew Brunette scored twice and Kyle Brodziak once, and Jose Theodore made 38 saves in his first start since Jan. 11.

Big win, and a win's a win even if they're not pretty. The PK's were huge because the Wild was down to five defensemen in the final 20 minutes because Cam Barker hurt his eye in a fight with Brandon Yip in the second.

If he can't play in Phoenix, the Wild will have to call up a defenseman Friday.

That's it from here. I'll write more after Friday's practice or maybe at the airport before my flight.

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