NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 2nd
(All times Eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (11-25-4) at Minnesota Wild (20-17-5), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild are looking to snap their longest
losing streak of the season, but to do so they'll have to beat the Buffalo
Sabres for just the second time on home ice.
The Wild try to end their six-game slide on Thursday night versus the Sabres
and get their struggling offense going in the process.
Minnesota has followed up a winless four-game road trip by dropping the first
two contests of a four-game stay at home. Its six-game slide is the longest
for the franchise since an 0-5-2 drought from Feb. 4-18, 2012.
The Wild dropped a 2-1 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, the first
time on their losing streak that they allowed fewer than four goals. However,
it was also the third time on the slide that they were held to a single goal.
And that goal didn't come until Ryan Suter scored with 8.3 seconds to play in
the game. Josh Harding made 21 saves in the loss.
"There were a lot of things that were much better tonight, but we're not in a
position where we can feel good about those things," said Minnesota head coach
Mike Yeo. "We'll build off them, look at them, but there's still other things
that we're not doing well enough to win hockey games."
Suter has scored in back-to-back games, his first two goals of the season, and
has notched a point in nine of his last 10 games. He was named to the U.S.
Olympic team on Wednesday along with injured teammate and forward Zach Parise
Harding is 3-1-0 with a 1.50 goals against average in four career starts
versus the Sabres, including a 22-save performance in a 2-1 victory at Buffalo
on Oct. 14.
Jason Pominville scored in his return to Buffalo as the Wild beat the Sabres
for the first time in the last three matchups.
However, the Sabres are 5-1-0 all-time in Minnesota.
Jhonas Enroth made 18 saves in the loss to the Wild and gave No. 1 netminder
Ryan Miller another breather on Tuesday. He made 23 saves, but was on the
wrong end of a 3-0 setback.
Al Montoya made 27 saves for the Jets. The Sabres appeared to get one by him
with just over five minutes to play in the first period, but it was ruled that
Drew Stafford had dislodged the net just before Marcus Foligno's shot crossed
the goal line.
"It's just unfortunate that we couldn't find a way to get one in ... It's a
close call I guess, I mean, it's tough when it doesn't go your way but we had
some good tips that were close but just weren't enough to get in," said
Buffalo, which failed to earn a point for the first time in four games
(2-1-1), lost forward Ville Leino to a lower-body injury during the game and
he won't play tonight.
The Sabres recalled defenseman Brayden McNabb and forward Johan Larsson from
Rochester of the American Hockey League on Wednesday while also placing
forward Cody Hodgson on injured reserve due to an upper-body injury. Hodgson
has missed the last four games.
Miller, named to the U.S. Olympic team on Wednesday, is likely to get the
start and is 3-1-0 with a 2.10 GAA and one shutout in four career matchups
with the Wild.
01/02 10:34:37 ET