Wild-Buffalo game preview

  • Updated: March 23, 2012 - 11:37 PM

Preview: The Wild, winner of two consecutive games for the first time in a month, faces yet another team battling for a playoff spot. Buffalo was one point out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference heading into their game Friday with the New York Rangers. The Sabres are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games and are looking to become the first team in NHL history to be in last place in the conference in January and make the playoffs.

Players to watch: Wild C Kyle Brodziak's assist vs. Calgary gave him six points in his past three games. He already has a career-high 40 points. LW Dany Heatley's goal Thursday was his first in nine games. G Josh Harding has one shutout and a .964 save percentage in two victories since returning from a lower-body injury. Buffalo's hot line of late -- Tyler Ennis centering LW Marcus Foligno and RW Drew Stafford -- has 11 goals and 25 points in the past six games.

Numbers: The Sabres are 17-5-5 in their past 27 games after a 4-1 victory Friday in New York.

Injuries: For the Wild, G Niklas Backstrom (lower body), D Justin Falk (lower body), W Matt Kassian (groin) and Jared Spurgeon (concussion) are out. D Marco Scandella (lower body) is probable. Buffalo C/LW Jochen Hecht (concussion) and LW/C Matt Ellis (knee) are out.

KENT YOUNGBLOOD

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