NHL

Thu, Jan 2, 2014 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Sabres-Wild Preview

Share This Story

   
 

There has been no such thing as a favorable opponent for the Minnesota Wild lately, but seeing the worst team in the NHL on the schedule as their first opponent of 2014 could have them feeling better about ending a franchise-record losing streak.

The Wild host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night as they try to snap a stretch of six straight regulation losses in a matchup of two of the worst offensive teams in the league.

"It feels a little bit like Groundhog Day right now, the difference is that every game has been a different story," coach Mike Yeo told the league's official website. "Every game is different and you got to find a way to win. It's making a play here or there, it's whatever it takes. We've got to find a way."

The futile stretch for the Wild (20-17-5) continued Tuesday with a 2-1 home loss to St. Louis. Defenseman Ryan Suter scored with nine seconds left to avoid the shutout for Minnesota, which hasn't dropped seven in a row overall since an 0-5-2 slide Feb. 4-18, 2012.

"When things go bad, usually you have to hit the bottom before you can start going, and we're as close to the bottom as we can get," Suter said.

Suter has goals in consecutive games after going the first 40 this season without one, and he has a point in nine of 10. The team's only two wins in that time have come in shootouts.

"There were a lot of things that were much better tonight, but we're not in a position where we can feel good about those things," Yeo said. "We'll build off them, look at them, but there's still other things that we're not doing well enough to win hockey games."

Josh Harding made 21 saves and lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season.

The Sabres (11-25-4), meanwhile, have been shut out six times after Tuesday's 3-0 loss at Winnipeg.

"Get bodies in front, try and get sticks on pucks," forward Drew Stafford told the Sabres' official website. "We were close, but just not enough to get in so it's unfortunate. That's a tough one to take."

They're averaging a league-worst 1.65 goals while the Wild are right above them with 2.19 per game.

"We're the type of team that can't have any kind of turnover or mistake and get caught trying to fight back," interim coach Ted Nolan said. "Our offense, it's tough to score goals. It's just one of those things."

Though he had the night off against the Jets, Ryan Miller has kept the Sabres in games lately. He's won four of five starts and hasn't allowed over three goals in his last 12.

Buffalo heads to Minnesota short-handed. The Sabres lost forward Ville Leino to a lower-body injury Tuesday and defenseman Henrik Tallinder is expected to miss at least a week with an unspecified injury.

They also placed Cody Hodgson, who has already missed five games, on injured reserve Wednesday with a wrist injury and recalled forward Johan Larsson and defenseman Brayden McNabb from AHL Rochester.

The Wild won 2-1 at Buffalo on Oct. 14 behind Harding's 22 saves, but the NHL leader with a 1.65 goals-against average won't face the Sabres this time due to illness. Niklas Backstrom will start and the team recalled Darcy Kuemper from their AHL affiliate to back him up.

Backstrom has lost eight straight starts with a 3.53 GAA.

Tagged: Sabres, Wild, Ryan Suter

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt