The Minnesota Wild lit up the Buffalo Sabres for 2 goals off 18 shots in the first period, but a third period rally would see the Wild fall 3-2 in this early Saturday evening game at the X. The Sabres were playing in their second game of back-to-backs, but proved to have the legs to outlast the Wild.
Something must be in the water in St. Paul, because for two consecutive games your Minnesota Wild have come out with a bit of an edge in their game. They were skating fast, clogging up the neutral zone, and gobbling up loose pucks. Zach Parise would be the benefactor of sniffing out one of those loose pucks when Zach Bogosian would pass the puck to a guy getting off the ice on a line change and Parise was there to pounce. He skated into the Sabres zone and ripped a wrister that hit the far post and went into the net at the 4:00 mark of the first.
Just 3 and a half minutes later, Matt Dumba would continue his goal scoring ways this season, pocketing his 8th goal of the season with a blast from the point on the power play. Dumba’s game has take big steps in recent seasons. He’s on pace to shatter his season high mark of 14 goals, given a little more freedom being paired with Ryan Suter is really paying dividends for Dumba and the Wild. Dumba’s 8 goals are second among defensemen in the NHL this season. Just 1 goal shy of Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs who leads defensemen with 9 goals this season.
The Sabres would get one back after Rasmus Dahlin sent a pretty feed over to Jake McCabe who was waiting on the weak side and writsted one past a sprawling Devan Dubnyk to get the Sabres on the board 14:52 into the game. The Wild were unfazed and continued to pepper Linus Ullmark in net for the Sabres, but couldn’t get one past him in the final 5 minutes of the first period. Ullmark really played well after giving up the 2 goals in the first period.
The final two periods were more even between the teams. The Wild held a 18-9 shots on goal advantage after the first period, but over the final two periods the Wild would just edge the Sabres in shots, 21-20. It wouldn’t be until late in the 12th minute of the third period before the game would take a turn in the Sabres advantage. With both teams fighting to secure the next goal, the Sabres would punch one past Dubnyk first with a scramble play in the crease. Dubs was unable to cover a loose puck in his paint before it bounce to Dahlin’s stick and he would throw the puck in the net.
Then of course, who else but Jason Pominville would score the game winner for Buffalo with just 90 seconds remaining in the game. Pominville threw what looked like a harmless backhand shuffle towards the net that tricked Dubnyk, somehow slipping past his toe and into the far corner. For the Sabres, it would be their 5th win in a row. For the Wild, it would mark their 2nd loss in their brief 3-game homestand.
No rest for the wicked as the Wild point this ship for Chicago to faceoff against the Blackhawks Sunday evening. The Hawks have won just 1 game in their past 10, including an 8-game losing streak. Coach Joel Quenneville was fired on November 6th and this just has not been the Blackhawks team we’ve all grown used to. Puck drop is scheduled for 5, which will put us in the third period when the Vikings kickoff against the Bears tonight. GO TEAMS!!!