Tonight recently acquired Devan Dubnyk makes his debut start for the Wild as Minnesota is in Buffalo. Dubnyk caught a red-eye flight and made the pregame skate this morning and Mr. Russo told us that he'll indeed be between the pipes for the Wild tonight. The 6-5, 210 pound Dubnyk played five seasons in Edmonton before losing his starting job and being traded twice last season. After landing in Arizona, he worked with goaltending coach Sean Burke on getting his game back and by the looks of it he may have done just that. Dubnyk has never seen the Sabres in his career but the hopes are the Wild can snap their six-game losing streak and (hopefully) save their season.
Ryan Suter was suspended two game by the NHL for his hit on Steve Downie. Although losing your best defensman for two games is never fun, a break may do wonders for Suter. He has made uncharacteristic plays since his return from the mumps. We'll never know if its the lingering side effects of the Mumps or awful goaltending, but even Mike Yeo believes a few days off may help the struggling blue-liner. With Suter out, Matt Dumba is in. Minnesota's blue liners have been piling up the injuries as Suter, Scandella and Falk are all out tonight. With five right handed blue-liners, Jared Spurgeon will play on the left side for the first time in his career. The pairings tonight are a DOOZY as well!
Brodin - Folin
Spurgeon - Prosser
Blum - Dumba
The Minnesota Wild are 8-5-2 lifetime against the Sabres and are 5-2-0 at First Niagara Center. In fact, the Wild is 5-1-2 in its last eight games against the Sabres, outscoring Buffalo 26-18 in those games. Buffalo has played fewer games against Minnesota (15) than any other NHL franchise. Now both of these teams have been playing awful, how awful? Well both teams have lost a combined 14 straight games awful.
Tons of connections between these two teams too. Buffalo was the home for staples, Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick are back in Buffalo after the Wild acquired them in a trade from a season ago. Check back at 5:45 for the lines and Go Wild!