The Buffalo Sabres enter winless in each of their past three games, but have lost by one goal in each game, sending it to overtime or the shootout in two of those contests. Buffalo has been without perhaps its two most talented forwards, as Jack Eichel and Evander Kane have been nursing injuries that will keep them out for an extended period. The Sabres will be without starting goaltender Robin Lehner because of an illness. Buffalo and Minnesota will conclude the season series on Tuesday when the Sabres come to St. Paul for the rematch.
Video: Jason Pominville Pregame at Buffalo
• Wild forward Jason Pominville was a second-round pick of the Sabres in 2001 and scored 185 goals and 456 points in 578 games with Buffalo from 2003-13.
• Wild forward Chris Stewart played in 66 games with the Sabres over two seasons (2013-15), scoring 11 goals and 25 points.
• Wild forward Zac Dalpe had one goal and two assists in 21 games with Buffalo during the 2014-15 campaign.
• Sabres forward Matt Moulson scored six goals and had 13 points in 20 games with the Wild in 2013-14.
• Sabres forward Kyle Okposo is a St. Paul native and played one season at the University of Minnesota.
• Sabres forward Johan Larsson was a second-round pick of the Wild in 2010 and made his NHL debut with Minnesota, playing in one game in 2012-13.
• Sabres forward Hudson Fasching, from Apple Valley, played two seasons at the University of Minnesota.
• Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson played three seasons at Minnesota State University.
At the Rink
Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau will host a pair of kids for a good cause on Thursday as part of a fundraiser for cancer research.
In conjunction with his hockey school in nearby St. Catharines, Ontario, Boudreau offered up an opportunity to follow the Wild on a game day, serving as guests of Boudreau during morning skate and throughout the day.
It begins with breakfast with the coaching staff before taking on the roles of honorary stick boys during morning skate. A pregame meal with the team as well as autographs follows before catching the game in a couple premium seats. If the Wild win, the kids will also get a chance to hang out in the dressing room after the game.
"It's a pretty cool day for them, all around, as long as they don't wear their Sabres jerseys," Boudreau said. "For a little time out, for me, it's well worth it and the kids have a great time."
The day with the team is something Boudreau has done once or twice per season dating back to his days as coach of the Washington Capitals and a tradition he continued with the Anaheim Ducks.
In addition to treating the kids, two 13-year olds, to a day they will never forget, it's a great way to raise money for cancer research.
It comes at an appropriate time, as the NHL is in the midst of "Hockey Fights Cancer" month. The Wild will play its third-straight "Hockey Fights Cancer" game on Thursday and will host its own game next month.
The cause is a personal one for Boudreau, who lost his dad, Norman, to cancer.
"I'm in a position, where there's things [I can do] to help," Boudreau said. "If I can, I'm going to do it. It's a great cause, so you just do it."
Here are the projected lineups:
Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter - Eric Staal - Charlie Coyle
Teemu Pulkkinen - Joel Eriksson Ek - Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker - Zac Dalpe - Chris Stewart
Ryan Suter - Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin - Christian Folin
Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser
Matt Moulson - Ryan O'Reilly - Kyle Okposo
Tyler Ennis - Sam Reinhart - Zemgus Girgensons
Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Brian Gionta
Hudson Fasching - Derek Grant - Nicolas Deslauriers
Josh Gorges - Rasmus Ristolainen
Dmitry Kulikov - Zach Bogosian
Jake McCabe - Cody Franson