Sometimes, it just takes a hot goalie, some puck luck, and some timely offense to get out of a horrendous losing streak. When you do it against one of the NHL's top 6 teams, all the better. Such was the case on Friday night at HSBC Arena, where the Minnesota Wild took a three-goal lead into the third period, and held on to snap their disasterous four-game losing streak by defeating the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres 3-2, as 18,690 mostly Sabres fans looked on in somewhat stunned disbelief.
Josh Harding, playing his second game in as many nights, made 43 saves to preserve the victory, which, depending on the results of the Nashville-Anaheim and LA Kings-Dallas games, will put the Wild either into 11th or remain in 12th in the NHL's Western Conference. Andrew Ebbett, Guillaume Latendresse, and Andrew Brunette scored for Minnesota, and ex-Gopher Thomas Vanek scored both Buffalo goals.
The Wild were without a number of players; Brent Burns (hip), Niklas Backstrom (groin), and Shane Hnidy, who did not go on the road trip (leg) were all scratched due to injury; Wade Dubleiewicz was recalled by the Wild from the AHL Houston Aeros for Backstrom, whose groin tweak is day-to-day.
The Wild, following their March pattern, now come home for the next two games, starting with the Next Game: vs. St. Louis, Sunday, March 14, 5:00 PM Central Daylight Time, Xcel Energy Center. (Wild TV: FSNorth (includes FSWisconsin); Blues' TV: FSMidwest, all feeds in HD; XM NHL Home Ice, Ch. 204)
Remember: Set your clocks AHEAD one hour before going to bed Saturday night!