ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild used a lucky bounce and a rare
show of offense to down the Buffalo Sabres.
Down by a goal late Saturday night, the Wild scored twice in the final five
minutes to beat the Sabres 3-2 and snap a long offensive drought.
With 24.3 seconds left, Jim Dowd's slap shot from the top of the right
circle hit the blocker of goaltender Mika Noronen and deflected in for the
"I saw it, but it hit the defenseman -- either his stick or his leg -- and
changed directions," Noronen said. "I got a little piece of it, but not
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Sabres.
Minnesota scored more than two goals in a game for the first time since Nov.
19. The Wild managed just eight goals in its previous eight games.
The teams traded goals in an evenly played first period, with Miroslav Satan
giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead at 8:49. For Satan, who led the team with 26 goals
last season, it was just the second time he's scored in 20 games.
Minnesota answered six minutes later on Jason Wiemer's third goal of the
season. Wiemer, who came to Minnesota off waivers from the New York Islanders
on Nov. 13, caught a pass at the top of the crease and jammed the puck low
between Noronen's pads.
Minnesota dominated the second period, during which the Wild had a
five-on-three power play for 1:19. The Wild outshot the Sabres by a wide
margin, but could not take the lead as Noronen stopped all 11 shots he faced.
"We started well and had a lot of chances, but couldn't get the goals again
early on," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "I'm thankful we got a little bit
of luck there at the end to win this game."
Chris Drury broke a 1-1 tie 65 seconds into the third period when he got
free in front of the Minnesota net, and lifted a backhand shot over a diving
Manny Fernandez and just under the crossbar.
"They came up stronger in the third," Lemaire said of the Sabres. "As
soon as they scored, they played harder. That's a sign of a team that hasn't
been winning and senses that it has a chance to win."
But Minnesota capitalized on a mistake by Noronen to tie it 2-2 with five
minutes left. Noronen mishandled a dump-in shot by Wes Walz, and Antti
Laaksonen was able to poke the puck off the goalie's stick and in.
"There's not a thing you can do about those two goals," Sabres coach Lindy
Ruff said. "You've got to fault Mika. There's nothing you can do as a team to
protect against it."
Noronen, who has lost three straight starts, made 21 saves. Fernandez