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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Bouchard's spin-o-rama, Spurgeon's 1st NHL goal highlight Wild win and move to 5th in West

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: February 22, 2011 - 11:23 PM

 

 

Spurgeon holding puck from 1st NHL goal

Nice night here at the X, when the Wild broke out of its first two-period slumber by exploding in the third for three goals to beat Edmonton 4-1. It was the Wild's 15th straight home win over the Oilers (by a 54-19 score), which is tied for the longest current home win streak by one team over another (Nashville over Columbus). Niklas Backstrom made 20 saves to improve to 6-2-1 in his past nine starts and 13-0 all-time vs. the Oilers at home with a 1.15 goals against average and .955 save percentage. That's the longest home win streak vs. one team by a goalie.

Ex-Oiler Kyle Brodziak scored the winning goal, his 13th of the season, which one less than his career-high. It was also his third goal of the year against his former team. Marty Havlat scored a breakaway goal, his third goal in three games, and he toyed often with the Oilers.

And Oiler killer Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who had a goal and two assists and now has 34 points against Edmonton in 36 games, beat Nikolai Khabibulin for the second time in his life on a spin-o-rama. The first time, in 2006, it came in a shootout in front of Denis Savard when Khabibulin was with Chicago. Tonight it came on a breakaway after Tom Gilbert, who had a nightmarish game, was clobbered by Cal Clutterbuck. Gilbert then fell and Ladislav Smid decided to chase after Clutterbuck, which gave Bouchard the blue line in for a breakaway.

This was tonight:

This was 2006:

Thanks to Nashville and Calgary losing, the Wild moved from 7th to 5th in the West as it heads to California for back-to-back games Thursday and Friday against Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Check out the gamer and the notebook for all the coverage on www.startribune.com/wild.

Nice win for the Wild, one that looked hairy at times, especially in the second period when Antti Miettinen had a chance to turn a 1-0 lead into 2-0.

Andrew Brunette sent a cross-crease pass from post to post for Miettinen. But Miettinen got handcuffed, fanned on his stab and by the time he corralled the puck, ex-Wild Kurtis Foster blocked Miettinen’s eventual shot with his skate at the post.
 
The Oilers exploded out of the zone on a 3-on-1 and Foster, who was Miettinen’s to defend on the backcheck, joined the rush and buried Linus Omark’s pass for the tying goal. It was the former Wild player’s first goal in four games against his old team and snapped a 32-game goal drought dating to Dec. 1.
 
It was an eventful shift for Foster: Got away with a high-stick on Brunette, robbed Miettinen with his toe and scored his first even-strength goal of the year.
 
That's it for me. Like I said, read the game and notebook. I'll talk to you after Wednesday's practice and before my flight to L.A.
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