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 wins an OT thriller in the OC; Bouchard winner, Theodore 46 saves

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild game coverage Updated: February 26, 2011 - 11:33 AM

Saturday morning update: From the air as I descend into MSP, Warren Peters, who played real well last night, and Jed Ortmeyer will be reassigned today, meaning Kyle Brodziak and Cody Almond should be able to return Monday against Chicago.

I tell people all the time the tough part about deadline is that you get so wired, it's hard to fall asleep, especially on the road and especially when you have a 4 a.m. the next day to get to the next city.

Tonight will be hard to sleep.

Tonight was the latest example of how Todd Richards' team just doesn't ever, ever quit. Shorthanded, banged-up, exhausted, the Wild just continues to put forth valiant effort because of some incredible character in that locker room.

What a game, what a finish, as the Wild got two breakaways in the final 45 seconds of overtime, the last by Pierre-Marc Bouchard, which he buried with 6.3 seconds left to lift Minnesota to a 3-2 victory. Jose Theodore, who still boggles my mind that he's a backup in this league, made 46 saves to rob Anaheim of a win in a game the Wild battled hard but was clearly fatigued after suffering a emotional, exhausting loss at LA the night before.

I don't know how I saw this, because I had to quickly scramble to rework my story a bit to file a few ticks after the game was over, but the coolest sight I saw was not the celebration in the corner with Bouchard.

It's how Niklas Backstrom and John Madden hopped the bench and rushed an exhilarated Theodore and just mugged him. It was a cool scene.

Just a great OT goal. Theodore makes his 46th save, yet another big one, I think on Corey Perry. The puck goes to the blue line and Antti Miettinen, who was just awesome tonight, pressured the D and forced a turnover. The puck went to Brent Burns.

The entire time, Bouchard was cherry-picking at the red line. As the puck popped free, I looked left and noticed Bouchard reading the play. He slowly skated sideways behind the D. They never saw him. He backed and backed, hoping Burns saw him. He did and Burns back-handed a beauty of a pass. Bouchard somehow stayed onside and scored his 2nd career OT winner between Dan Ellis' legs.

Clayton Stoner also scored, Miettinen assisted on every goal and Madden, one night after looking like he was going to jump off the Staples Center as he took responsibility for Drew Doughty's winning goal, was the unsung hero.

He not only scored the first goal, he went head to head with Ryan Getzlaf's line all night.

Huge win.

All the details are in the game story here. It's a large one. Space is unlimited on the Internet (only write Internet only stories from the west coast because the gamer doesn't get in many editions).

Also, here's video of Bouchard's winner with Dan Terhaar and Mike Greenlay on the call.

Here's the final 60 seconds from Bob Kurtz and Tom Reid. Great stuff.

That's it for me. Long travel day back to Minnesota. The Wild is completely off, so barring news, talk to you Sunday -- one day before the trade deadline. Make sure you read Sunday's paper. I've got some good stuff for follow regarding the trade deadline and the tightness of this team.

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