NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, March 6th
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (31-25-8) at Minnesota Wild (34-25-6), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The surging Buffalo Sabres will try to extend their point
streak with back-to-back wins when they visit the Minnesota Wild tonight at
Xcel Energy Center.
The Sabres have recorded a point in six straight contests, posting a 4-0-2
mark during that stretch and Buffalo is coming off a big victory in
Buffalo improved to 2-0-1 on its seven-game road trip with a 5-3 win over the
Eastern Conference-leading Flyers on Saturday afternoon. The Sabres enter
today's action with 70 points, leaving them one shy of idle Carolina for the
eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
The Sabres trailed Saturday's game by a 2-0 score after 20 minutes of play,
but Buffalo took the lead with three markers in a span of 3 minutes, 40
seconds during the second period.
The Flyers were able to tie the game at 3-3 before the end of the second
stanza, but Jason Pominville scored the go-ahead goal early in the third
period and Buffalo would later add an empty-net tally by Nathan Gerbe.
Drew Stafford, Tyler Ennis and Andrej Sekera scored the important second-
period goals for Buffalo, while Brad Boyes and Thomas Vanek both collected two
assists. Boyes has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in three games since
coming over from St. Louis in a trade.
Ryan Miller made 33 saves to pick up his 28th win of the season, but it's
unclear if he will get the start again today or if backup Jhonas Enroth will
make a rare appearance. Miller is 2-1-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average in
his career against the Wild.
Minnesota last played on Thursday, when it notched a 3-1 road victory over the
New York Rangers. Wild goaltender Jose Theodore was stellar with 40 saves to
help his club end a two-game slide.
Kyle Brodziak, Casey Wellman and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored for Minnesota,
which is seeded 11th in the West and is just two points in back of Los Angeles
for the conference's eighth and final postseason berth.
"We are fighting for a playoff spot, and every time I have a chance to play, I
need to be on top of my game," said Theodore.
It's unclear if Theodore or Niklas Backstrom will get the start in net this
evening. Theodore has won two of his last three starts, while Backstrom is on
a personal three-game losing streak.
The Wild could be without forward Cal Clutterbuck tonight due to an upper-body
injury. Clutterbuck was the recipient of an illegal hit to the head by Trevor
Gillies of the New York Islanders on Thursday, but he was in the lineup the
following night against the Rangers. However, Clutterbuck was held out of
practice on Saturday and is questionable for today's contest.
Gillies was given a 10-game suspension by the league for his hit on
The Wild are playing the first of two straight on home ice tonight and will
also host Colorado on Tuesday.
Minnesota posted a win in Buffalo last season, giving the road team a victory
in four straight and eight of the last nine meetings in this series. The Wild
have taken four of six overall from the Sabres, but Buffalo has won two in a
row and four of its last five in St. Paul.
Buffalo has a 17-10-5 road record this season and the Wild are 16-13-3 as the
03/06 10:56:41 ET