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Wild Warmup: Minnesota at Buffalo

Wild heads east for pre-Thanksgiving date with Sabres

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
The essentials

Who: Minnesota Wild (9-8-3) at Buffalo Sabres (5-12-4)

Puck drop: 6:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports GO

Listen: KFAN 100.3 FM, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild; GameCenter


The opponent

The Buffalo Sabres enter play Wednesday on a six-game losing streak, capturing just two points during that stretch. The slump has dropped Buffalo to 16th in the Eastern Conference standings, two points behind the Florida Panthers, and just one point ahead of the Arizona Coyotes for fewest points in the NHL.

Few games during that stretch, however, have been blowouts. Three of those six defeats have been by one goal, with two others tied at various points in the third period. 

The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 home loss to Columbus on Monday. Buffalo fell into a 3-0 hole midway through the third period before goals by Sam Reinhart and Evander Kane less than seven minutes apart pulled Buffalo within a goal with 3:32 left in regulation.

Wednesday's contest marks Buffalo's second game this season against a Central Division foe; the Sabres dropped a 5-1 decision in Dallas earlier this month.

Kane leads the Sabres with 12 goals and 20 points on the season. Jack Eichel paces the club with 12 assists and has 17 points. Former Wild forward Jason Pominville is off to a good start with six goals and 13 points in 21 games. 

Goaltending has been the biggest issue for Buffalo so far, with both Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson posting goals-against numbers over three. Lehner's save percentage of .903 is marginally better than Johnson's .892. Lehner also has seven more starts to his credit this season.


Connections

• Wild assistant coach Bob Woods served as an assistant coach for Buffalo during the 2016-17 season.

• Wild forward Tyler Ennis was selected by the Sabres in the first round (26th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and collected 236 points (97- 139=236) in 419 contests with Buffalo before being acquired by the Wild over the summer.

• Wild forward Marcus Foligno is a Buffalo native who spent six seasons with the Sabres, tallying 116 points (49-67=116) and 334 penalty minutes in 347 games (2011-17). He was drafted by Buffalo in the fourth round (104th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

• Wild forward Chris Stewart skated in 66 games with the Sabres in parts of two seasons (2013-15), totaling 25 points (11- 14=25) and 69 penalty minutes.

• Sabres coach Phil Housley is a native of South St. Paul and was head coach at Stillwater Area High School from 2004-2013. 

• Sabres defenseman Justin Falk was selected by the Wild in the fourth round (110th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and collected 15 points (1-14=15) in 121 games in parts of five seasons with Minnesota (2009-13; 2014-15).
• Sabres forward Johan Larsson was drafted by Minnesota in the second round (56th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, skating in one game with the Wild. 

• Sabres forward Matt Moulson tallied 13 points (6-7=13) in 20 games with the Wild (2013-14).

• Sabres forward Kyle Okposo is from St. Paul and played one season at the University of Minnesota (2006-07).

• Sabres forward Jason Pominville tallied 206 points (76-130=206) in 327 games in parts of five seasons with the Wild (2012-17).

• Sabres forward Benoit Pouliot was selected fourth overall by the Wild in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and appeared in 65 games with Minnesota (2006-09).

• Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella was selected by Minnesota in the second round (55th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and collected 89 points (27-62=89) in 373 contests during seven seasons with the Wild (2010-17).

• Sabres defenseman Matt Tennyson is from Minneapolis.


Buffalo bounce

Minnesota has a four-game win streak in Buffalo since Oct. 14, 2013, outscoring the Sabres 15-3. Minnesota has an 8-2-0 record in Buffalo all-time, with a 32-16 goal advantage. Overall, the Wild has points in 10 of its last 13 games (8-3-2) against the Sabres since March 9, 2007, outscoring Buffalo 43-25.

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