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Wild Finishes Four-Game Sojourn Thursday in Buffalo

Victory would give Minnesota a winning road trip

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Minnesota Wild will try for a winning road trip on Thursday when it plays the Buffalo Sabres at the Key Bank Center.

The Wild (4-2-1) had an optional practice on Wednesday with a handful of players hitting the ice.

Others earned a deserved day off the ice less than 24 hours after a convincing 5-0 win Tuesday against the Boston Bruins. The victory moved Minnesota to 1-1-1 on its first extended trip of the season. 

After watching the film of Tuesday's game, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was actually happier than he was in the aftermath.

"I thought we were better on video than we were live," Boudreau said. "Maybe that's just the critic in me. I watched it and I would go, 'Maybe that wasn't a bad play. Maybe we are skating. Maybe we are forcing them into mistakes.'"

The Wild and Bruins struggled in the opening 20 minutes before Minnesota scored four goals in the second period to grab control of the game. 

Perhaps more encouraging was the Wild's performance in the third period, when its continued strong play never gave the Bruins a chance of getting back into the game. 

"We didn't have a letdown," said Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.  

There is a chance the Wild could get defenseman Jared Spurgeon back from an upper-body injury, although Boudreau said odds of that happening were not likely.

Spurgeon has skated each of the past three days and is more likely to return on Saturday when the Wild host the Dallas Stars at Xcel Energy Center.

Erik Haula was also on the ice Wednesday but is still likely a few days away from a return. 

Both remain day-to-day.

Buffalo (1-2-2) goaltender Robin Lehner did not practice Wednesday and is questionable because of an illness. Lehner did not play in the Sabres' loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

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