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Wilderness Walk: Buffalo’d

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Wild drop shootout loss to Sabres; Ovechkin sets a record, Matthews makes a deal, plus NHL News and Notes in the Walk.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild came back from three deficits, including a late goal by Zach Parise, to force extra hockey with the Buffalo Sabres, yet ultimately fell in the shootout to lose 5-4. But while they gained a point in the standings, they might have also lost captain Mikko Koivu to injury. Coach Bruce Boudreau had no update on Koivu after the game. Check out Happy Rivard’s recap for more on the game.

Also on Tuesday, Alexander Ovechkin cemented his status as козел by surpassing Sergei Federov as the highest scoring Russian of all time, and Auston Matthews signed a 5-year, $58 million deal with the Maple Leafs.

Let’s walk.

Wild News

Wild rallies to force OT in Buffalo, falls 5-4 in shootout as Koivu leaves injured - StarTribune.com
Zach Parise tied the game with 97 seconds remaining, but Sabres winger Sam Reinhart scored the only goal in the shootout.

Wild to honor Twins legend Joe Mauer during game next week
The Wild announced Tuesday that they plan to honor Joe Mauer next week at the Xcel Energy Center during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

A pair of losses in a single night? Wild lose captain Mikko Koivu before falling to Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. — In desperate need of a win to start a week that could define the season, for better or for worse, the Wild instead suffered a pair of losses Tuesday night, one to the Buffalo Sabres and one in the form of Mikko Koivu going down with an apparent lower-body injury.

Tending the Fields

THE WILD WIRE - #16 | Iowa Wild
For whatever reason, the Iowa Wild have a tough time on the West Coast.

On Frozen Pond

Now a pro, Casey Middelstadt is still 'the biggest Minnesota kid anyone will ever meet'
Less than two years removed from walking the hallways as the big man on campus at Eden Prairie High School, the 20-year-old Casey Mittelstadt is currently carving out a new life with the Buffalo Sabres.

Ex-Gophers forward Mittelstadt says he's happy he turned pro early - StarTribune.com
After wrapping up his high school career as the 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey, Mittelstadt logged just one season with the Gophers before signing an entry-level contract with Buffalo.

Hockey Canada uses its own regulations to get seven-year-old kids who were kicked out of their league back on the ice - TheHockeyNews
Participation in a so-called outlaw league resulted in three seven-year-old players being kicked out of their league by their local minor hockey association, but Hockey Canada stepped in and found a loophole in its own regulation to get the kids back on the ice where they belong.

Off The Trail

How Pyeongchang performance led to Gigi Marvin's NWHL all-star turn - TheHockeyNews
Boston Pride center Gigi Marvin marauded around the ice for Team USA, skating in all five player positions before landing at center on the golden Olympic squad. And now the veteran has booked a ticket to the NWHL All-Star Game with her play as a pivot.

Stauber brings experience to Congressional Hockey Challenge
Minnesota representative, former college star Pete Stauber to play in charity game as part of Hockey Day on Hill

Around the League

Alex Ovechkin becomes highest-scoring Russian player in NHL history
The 2018-19 season has been a pretty good one for every player with the last name Ovechkin.

Ovechkin passes Fedorov for Russian scoring record in NHL
WASHINGTON (AP) — With an assist on Tuesday night, Alex Ovechkin passed Sergei Fedorov as the top-scoring Russian player in NHL history.

It’s not perfect, but Auston Matthews and Maple Leafs agree to new deal that neither side will regret – The Athletic
It may not be an ideal contract for the Leafs, but Matthews is signed and their Stanley Cup window is very much open for the next six years.

Mirtle: Why Auston Matthews’ second contract is record-setting and precedent-making – The Athletic
Auston Matthews' second contract is going to be controversial when it finally gets done. But what is a fair deal for both Matthews and the Leafs? James Mirtle takes a look.

Who is on the hot seat as the NHL trade deadline approaches? – The Athletic
Fortunes wax and wane but this is where the buck stops for many, where seasons are won and lost, careers take abrupt turns.

Auston Matthews Deal Dramatically Changes NHL Free Agent Landscape
With the signing of Auston Mathews to a heavily bonused contract, how will this change the landscape for free agents in the NHL moving forward?

NHL Elite: Consistent Point-Per-Game Players
This season, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin were point-per-game players for the 10th time in their careers. By reaching that mark, they became the third and fourth active players to do so. Learn which active players they joined as well as those retired who have the most seasons as point-per-game players.

With wild card within reach, the St. Louis Blues should forget about selling at the deadline - TheHockeyNews
The Blues are within three points of the final wild-card spot and have been an entirely different outfit since coach Craig Berube came aboard. There’s no longer any reason for St. Louis to sell at the deadline.

The Ducks are descending into the abyss and taking Gibson's chances of a Vezina Trophy with them - TheHockeyNews
John Gibson has bailed out the Ducks all season, but the goaltender needs his teammates to step up if he's going to have any shot at the Vezina Trophy and if Anaheim is going to cling to their playoff hopes.

NHL Trade Deadline 2019: Four playoff bubble teams that need to sell
Here, we take a look at four teams that are probably still considered on the playoff bubble that should resist the temptation to add and go into a seller mode.

NHL Awards Watch - New leaders for MVP, Norris and Vezina
Scoring leader Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning has charged to the top of the Hart Trophy ranks. Who's ahead for all the major awards?