'Desperate' Sabres prevail over Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 25, 2012 - 1:06 AM

Buffalo improved its playoff status by beating the Wild as the teams continued on opposite bearings.

hide

Wild captain Mikko Koivu deflected the puck as Buffalo's Christian Ehroff and goaltender Ryan Miller defended on Saturday night.

Photo: Gary Wiepert, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Thanks to the Wild, if the season ended today, the Buffalo Sabres would make the playoffs.

With a 3-1 victory over Minnesota at First Niagara Center on Saturday night, the Sabres moved into the top eight in the Eastern Conference for the first time since Dec. 19.

That's two days after the Wild fell from the tippy-top of the NHL standings, meaning the Sabres' upswing has been about as astonishing as the Wild's downswing.

On Jan. 23, the Sabres were 21 points behind Boston in the Northeast Division. They're now five points back. On Feb. 17, they were last in the East. But in the past 28 games, they're 18-5-5 and Saturday leaped over Washington, the Wild's Sunday opponent, into the playoff bubble.

The Wild, on the other hand, is nearing mathematical postseason elimination in the West for a fourth consecutive season and sixth time in eight seasons after going 11-26-7 since Dec. 13.

"They're playing really good hockey. They're playing desperate," Wild defenseman Tom Gilbert said of the Sabres. "It's do or die. If they lose a game, they could be out of the playoffs. We wanted to be a good spoiler for them.

"Washington's in the exact same spot, so we have to be little better in trying to beat another team going for a playoff spot."

The Wild will have to do that without center Matt Cullen, who might be lost for the season after saying he broke his right index finger when struck by a Christian Ehrhoff shot with 4 1/2 minutes left. The Wild will recall forward Chad Rau on Sunday.

After the first period Saturday, the Wild looked well on its way to winning a third consecutive game for the first time since winning seven in a row from Nov. 28-Dec. 10 (aka precursor to the wheels falling off this season).

It forced turnovers, attacked with speed, got pucks deep, made tape-to-tape passes, shot from everywhere and jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Steve Kampfer buried Kyle Brodziak's pass off a 2-on-1.

But, Brodziak said, "When the execution started going south, it definitely gave them the momentum."

The Wild took 16 shots in the first -- nine in the first 6:51. It would take nine in the final two periods -- the lowest total Buffalo's allowed in the final 40 minutes this season.

The Sabres looked like a different team immediately to start the second and tied the score after Nate Prosser's turnover when three forwards crashed the net and Thomas Vanek scored on a rebound 72 seconds in.

"They were trying to cram three guys down low and get in on the forecheck," Kampfer said. "That's the strength of their team. Their guys are gritty. They want to get down low. It was a challenge for the D to box them out.

"It's probably the first time I've seen three guys below the top of the circles like that consistently."

Josh Harding made 16 saves in the period to help the Wild escape 1-1, but Darroll Powe held ex-Flyers teammate Ville Leino 53 seconds into the third and Marcus Foligno deflected Tyler Myers' shot on the power play. Cody Hodgson later scored a buzzer-beating empty-netter.

"We weren't willing to stay with our game," coach Mike Yeo said. "... This is where you have one, two bad shifts in a row, you need somebody to go out there and set it straight."

  • BUFFALO 3, WILD 1

    Up next: 4 p.m. today at Washington • TV: NBC Sports Network (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs 5 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 1
Cincinnati 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 6 2nd Qtr 1:03
Massachusetts 0
West Virginia 3 2nd Qtr
(2) Alabama 3
Rice 7 1st Qtr 2:01
(17) Notre Dame 14
(10) South Dakota St 7 1st Qtr 2:08
(24) Missouri 21
Fla Atlantic 7 1st Qtr 0:40
(22) Nebraska 14
California 14 2nd Qtr 14:40
Northwestern 0
Marshall 14 2nd Qtr 15:00
Miami-Ohio 0
UC Davis 0 1st Qtr 11:22
(11) Stanford 7
Arkansas 0 1st Qtr 8:00
(6) Auburn 7
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 1st Half 35:00
Seattle 0
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close