Wild-Buffalo game preview

  • Updated: October 14, 2013 - 12:18 AM

6:30 P.M. at Buffalo • FIRST NIAGARA CENTER • NBCSN, 100.3-FM

Preview: The Wild has won two in a row and begins a four-game road trip to Buffalo, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Florida. The Wild is the final Western Conference team to play the East, and the West is 27-6-3 against the East. The Sabres are last in the East at 0-5-1, have scored six goals and given up 16. A Buffalo loss would match its worst start ever.

Players to watch: Playing in his fifth game, Wild RW Justin Fontaine’s first NHL goal Saturday against Dallas was the quickest goal in Wild history (12 seconds in). It matched the quickest goal ever from the start of a game by a player scoring his first goal (North Stars’ Rick Boh did it in his seventh game on Feb. 27, 1988, at Boston Garden). LW Matt Cooke leads the team with five points, and LW Zach Parise leads with four goals. G Josh Harding has won two in a row, and his 1.07 goals-against average ranks third among NHL goalies who have played more than one game. Sabres Fs Thomas Vanek and Cody Hodgson have combined for nine of Buffalo’s 16 points. D Tyler Myers and D Mike Weber are minus-7 and minus-8.

Numbers: The Wild has given up a league-low 21.4 shots per game and ranks sixth in goals against (2.20). … The Wild’s power play ranks fifth (30.4 percent), but its penalty kill is tied for 27th (66.7 percent). … The Wild was 5-9-4 against the East two years ago.

Injuries: Wild C Charlie Coyle (knee) and LW Mike Rupp (knee) are out; G Niklas Backstrom (knee) is questionable. Sabres RW Ville Leino (rib) and RW Patrick Kaleta (suspended) are out; D Henrik Tallinder (upper body) is day-to-day.

 

MICHAEL RUSSO

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