National Hockey League
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          === Pominville returns to Buffalo as Wild take on Sabres ===
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild will aim for a third consecutive
 victory when they visit the winless Buffalo Sabres for Monday's battle at
 First Niagara Center.
 
 The Wild began the season with three straight losses (0-1-2) before posting
 recent home wins over Winnipeg and Dallas. Minnesota will try to stay hot
 on the road, as it opens a four-game trip Monday evening in Buffalo.
 
 Minnesota's most recent victory came in Saturday's rout of the visiting Stars.
 Justin Fontaine sparked Minnesota with a goal 12 seconds into the contest and
 the Wild rolled to a 5-1 decision at Xcel Energy Center.
 
 Matt Cooke netted the eventual game-winner midway through the first period,
 while Mathew Dumba, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise all added goals in the
 triumph.
 
 "What's most important to me is wins," Cooke said. "Tonight was a step in the
 right direction. That was our first, full 60-minute game."
 
 Josh Harding stopped 18 shots to earn the win, and with regular No. 1 Niklas
 Backstrom still dealing with a strained knee, he could see his third straight
 start on Monday.
 
 Minnesota forward Jason Pominville will make his return to Buffalo on Monday
 after he was traded by the Sabres to the Wild during last season. Pominville
 was a second-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2001 and had 456 points over 578
 career games with the Sabres.
 
 Pominville's former team has yet to pick up a win in 2013-14, as the Sabres
 enter Monday with an 0-5-1 record. Buffalo hasn't gone this far into a season
 without a win since opening the 1999-2000 season with five losses and two
 ties.
 
 Buffalo's offense has been nothing short of anemic in the early going with the
 team managing a total of six goals in six games. The Sabres scored one goal in
 each of their last two games, both of which wound up being regulation losses
 for Buffalo.
 
 The Sabres were downed 2-1 in Chicago on Saturday, as Buffalo native Patrick
 Kane's power-play goal late in the second period proved to be the difference
 for the Blackhawks.
 
 Drew Stafford netted the lone Buffalo goal, while Ryan Miller allowed both
 goals on 40 shots for the Sabres.
 
 "We're just going to have to keep doing what we're doing until we break
 through," Miller remarked.
 
 The Sabres, who will visit the New York Islanders on Tuesday, are 0-2-1 on
 home ice this season.
 
 A good sign for Buffalo on Monday is that it has won two straight and three of
 the last four meetings against the Wild. However, Minnesota has taken four of
 the past six encounters in Western New York.
 
 
 
 10/14 10:51:18 ET