Wild outlast Sabres in first meeting since trade
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund helped the Minnesota Wild end a two-game skid.
They each scored two goals to lead the Wild to a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.
“We were sloppy for a long time and had the lead and gave them life again,” Niederreiter said. “It was always back and forth. At the end of the day, it was good that we closed them out but it definitely wasn’t as good as we wanted to play.”
Tyler Ennis also scored while Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter each had two assists. Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves.
Niederreiter has scored in five straight games, the second-longest streak in franchise history.
“He goes to the net and he’s hungry,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s not going to get a million beautiful goals but he’s going to get the greasy ones in front of the net and that’s what he does.”
Jordan Nolan scored twice for the Sabres. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart also had goals. Robin Lehner made 17 saves after replacing Chad Johnson following the first period. Johnson stopped 10 shots.
Buffalo has lost seven in a row and had an extended closed-door meeting after the game.
“We just have to start holding guys accountable, start being honest with ourselves and our teammates,” said Nolan, the former L.A. King. “This team hasn’t been too successful in years and it needs to change. It’s going to be a long, long season and a few seasons to come if that’s the way it is.”
The Wild scored three goals in a 5:29 span in the first period and led the rest of the way.
Foligno fed his former Sabres teammate Ennis for the first goal nine minutes into the game. Granlund scored unassisted to put the Wild ahead with 7:32 remaining in the period.
Niederreiter deflected Mikko Koivu’s shot from the point to make it 3-1 on a power play two minutes later. It was the first power-play goal the Sabres have allowed at home this season.
After Nolan scored his first goal as a Sabre to make it 3-2 two minutes into the second, Niederreiter netted his second of the night to extend Minnesota’s lead midway through the period.
Granlund got his second goal on a power play with 4:04 left in the third to make it 5-2.
Reinhart scored late the second period for his 100th NHL point. Nolan scored his second on a wrist shot from the right circle to bring the Sabres within a goal with 6:05 remaining in the game.
Eichel gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead 6:55 into the game. Officials initially ruled that it was not a goal, but the decision was overturned after video review.
“Everyone’s got to look themselves in the mirror and pull up their sleeves and be better,” Sabres forward Jason Pominville said. “We’ve got to put this behind us and move forward because what’s behind us isn’t even close to being good enough.”
Brian Rolston scored a goal in six straight games for the Wild from Jan. 21 to Feb. 5, 2008. … This was the first meeting between the teams since the Wild traded D Marco Scandella and F Jason Pominville to Buffalo in exchange for F Tyler Ennis and F Marcus Foligno on June 30. … Wild F Chris Stewart returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. … Dubnyk is 4-0-0 all-time vs. Buffalo.
Wild: Host Colorado on Friday
Sabres: Host Edmonton on Friday night.