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GAMEDAY: Wild at Buffalo

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Mike Doyle - Manager of Digital Content

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GAMEDAY: Wild at Buffalo
Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres
Minnesota Wild (2-1-2: 6 points, T-9th in Western Conference, T-4th in Central Division) at Buffalo Sabres (0-5-1: 1 point, 16th in Eastern Conference, 8th in Atlantic Division)
Tonight will mark Jason Pominville’s return to Buffalo after the Wild acquired the forward from the Sabres on the Trade Deadline Day Last season. Before landing in the State of Hockey, the winger played the first 578 games of his NHL career in a Sabres sweater, scoring 185 goals and 271 assists. The former Buffalo captain was a fan favorite and should expect a warm welcome, well, at least initially.

The Wild skates tonight for the first time in the Eastern Time Zone, kicking off a four-game road trip. The team looks for its third-straight win, while the Sabres still search for its first. The last time the teams met, the Sabres came away with a 3-1 victory at First Niagara Center on March 24, 2012.

Early on, the Wild has been taking care of business in the defensive end. The team has the sixth-best goals against average (2.20) in the league, while giving up the fewest shots per game (21.4).

Since coming in for relief of Niklas Backstrom against the Nashville Predators, goaltender Josh Harding has stepped up, allowing only three goals in three games—one of which came on a penalty shot as Harding came in cold replacing Backstrom. Backstrom has started skating with the team, but is still recovering from a knee strain, so expect Harding to get his third-straight start in net.

Minnesota exploded offensively in its last outing, a 5-1 home outing against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Justin Fontaine and Mathew Dumba both scored their first-career NHL goals. Fonatine set a franchise record for quickest goal, scoring 12 seconds after the opening faceoff. Nino Niederreiter tallied his first in a Wild sweater, while Matt Cooke kept up his hot play by scoring his third of the season. Zach Parise added a third period power play goal for his team-leading fourth of the year.

Despite Ryan Miller’s 40-save performance against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sabres lost 2-1. After falling behind by two goals, Drew Stafford scored in the third period, but it was all the Sabres could muster.

You'll also notice the Red Baron Pizza logo on today's game preview photo. Today the team is partnering with Red Baron and launching a contest where fans can win great items like autographed merchandise, and maybe even a spot on the 2014-15 Fan Road Trip. Visit the contest rules page for more info on how to enter.
Meet the Tatanka If You're Going
The Sabres have a pair of all-star caliber players in Miller and Thomas Vanek, but both are in the final year of their contract and if the team continues to slide, and could have some interest from other clubs as the season progresses.

Vanek is second on the team in scoring with four points (2-2=4). While despite having a .941 save percentage and 2.29 goals-against average, Miller is 0-4.
Opening last season, the Sabres’ Alumni Plaza outside of First Niagara Center honors former players in the organization. Plaques featuring the names of every player in Sabres history are placed on brick columns across the plaza to forever immortalize their contribution to the team.

The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Who's Hot Gameday Media
Matt Cooke has tallied a goal and an assist in each of his last two games. The offseason acquisition leads the team with five points (3-2=5).

Fans can guess who's going to be hot with the Wild's HotBox Fantasy Challenge presented by the Pioneer Press for a chance to win great prizes.
Game Notes | Transactions | Injury Report | Lighthouse | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwildLIVE | @mnwild
Yeo | Pominville | Dumba
Coming Soon
Probably Wild Lineup Between The Pipes
The lines will remain the same as Saturday:


The D-pairings will also remain the same:


Goaltender Josh Harding is expected to start in net for the third-straight game. Harding is 2-1-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .957 save percentage in three starts against Buffalo.
View From The Press Box

This is an important game for him and that makes it an important game for us.

- Yeo on Pominville's return to Buffalo
Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser will be out of the lineup tonight on the blue line. 

Charlie Coyle is on Injured Reserve with a knee sprain and is expected to miss three to four weeks. Mike Rupp is still out with a lower-body injury.
Honorary State of Hockey Resident Worthless Stat
Vanek played college hockey at the University of Minnesota (2002-04). John Scott appeared in 71 games with Minnesota (2008-10). Jamie McBain is a native of Edina. The Wild selected Johan Larson in the second round (56th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Minnesota opens a four-game road trip, tied for its longest of the season. The Wild went 12-11-1 on the road last season, including a five-game road win streak (3/9-3/25) that was the second longest in team history. The streak set a franchise record with four-straight road victories by more than one goal and matched a franchise record with four-straight road regulation victories.
Broadcast Info In Case You Missed It
Wild at Sabres will be broadcast nationally in high definition on NBC Sports Network with a start time at 6:30 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at
Wild Reassigns Kuemper To Iowa | Five Takeaways vs. Dallas | Wild 5-Hole vs. Dallas |
Becoming Wild Webisode: Niederreiter | Yeo Postgame vs. Dallas - Oct. 12
Wild vs. Dallas - Oct. 12
Photo Gallery
Wild vs DAL - Oct. 12
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Jan 02 '14 BUF 1 at MIN 4 J. Pominville
Oct 14 '13 MIN 2 at BUF 1 J. Pominville
M. Cooke6336+5002
J. Brodin6235+3410
Z. Parise6404+1630
J. Spurgeon6134+0010
M. Koivu6044+2600
K. Brodziak6123+4400
N. Niederreiter6123-2200
R. Suter6033+1400
M. Granlund6033-1200
J. Pominville6202+0021
J. Fontaine6101+4000
M. Dumba4101+0210
K. Ballard6011+3700
T. Mitchell6011+1200
D. Heatley6011-1400
C. Stoner5011+11300
Z. Konopka6000+01700
S. Veilleux3000+0200
M. Scandella3000-2000
C. Coyle2000-2200
J. Zucker1000+0000
J. Harding43-1-04771.06.948
N. Backstrom30-0-28533.40.849
C. Hodgson7145-4210
T. Vanek7224-5400
Z. Girgensons7112-2200
B. Flynn7112-3000
J. McBain5112-3010
D. Stafford7101-2400
M. Pysyk7011+1000
S. Ott7011-1900
C. Ehrhoff7000+2000
T. Ennis7000-3400
T. Myers7000-71200
M. Grigorenko6000+0000
K. Porter6000-3000
R. Ristolainen6000-3200
M. Weber6000-81200
C. McCormick5000+01000
P. Kaleta5000-1500
J. Larsson5000-1000
M. Foligno4000-1900
H. Tallinder3000+0400
J. Scott3000-1200
A. Sulzer1000+0000
V. Leino1000+0000
R. Miller40-4-091532.29.941
J. Enroth30-2-18882.65.909 is the official Web site of the Minnesota Wild Hockey Club. The Minnesota Wild,, "The State of Hockey" and State of Hockey flag image are trademarks of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015  Minnesota Sports & Entertainment and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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