Wild gets back on winning track with 4-1 win over Buffalo

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 3, 2014 - 6:37 AM

Minnesota ended a franchise-record six-game losing streak by beating Buffalo, the worst team in the NHL.

 

Victory music in the locker room, smiles on faces, the head coach actually cracking jokes in the postgame news conference? The event level of Xcel Energy Center offered evidence of a triumphant Wild team Thursday night.

The palpable tension and melancholy mood that has been submerging the franchise lately disappeared for at least one evening as the Wild snatched a 4-1 victory from the NHL’s basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres to stop a franchise-record six-game losing streak.

“We’re undefeated this year, so it’s all good,” deadpanned defenseman Clayton Stoner, who caused the Wild’s restless fans to roar for a change with five hits, the biggest being a glass-rattling squash on Sabres 6-8 defenseman Tyler Myers.

For the second consecutive meeting with the team he used to captain, Jason Pominville scored the winning goal. Marco Scandella, Jason Zucker, fresh off the Iowa shuttle that should be named after him, and, believe it or not, Kyle Brodziak scored the other goals.

Well, Brodziak kinda, sorta scored. He was hauled down by defenseman Christian Ehrhoff with Buffalo’s net empty for an extra attacker, so philanthropic referee Chris Lee awarded Brodziak with a badly-needed goal, his first in 31 games.

“He was going to score. He was going to go top shelf, for sure,” coach Mike Yeo said, laughing.

There were a lot of relieved men after the game, maybe the biggest being Yeo, whose job is tenuous at best. It’s so shaky that hours before Thursday game, Yeo equated Game 43 of the regular season to last year’s season-ending, do-or-die, must-win finale in Colorado.

Yeo all but promised struggling Niklas Backstrom, who got the start because Josh Harding was sick, would have a great performance.

Backstrom, who had given up 24 goals in his previous six starts and was winless since Nov. 23, made 19 saves and had a shutout bid ruined by Matt Ellis with 72 seconds left in the third period.

“Really excited for Backy,” Pominville said. “We all know he was going through a little bit of a tough go.”

Captain Mikko Koivu added, “Finally, we were able to help him and play the way we have to play in front of him.”

Koivu and defenseman Ryan Suter, a plus-3, each had two assists as the Wild won for the first time since Dec. 17 and for first time in regulation since Dec. 8.

“Relief for everyone. We needed points bad,” Pominville said.

The Wild broke open a scoreless game with three second-period goals. Scandella and Pominville scored 1:46 apart, Scandella’s off a pretty give-and-go with Matt Cooke, Pominville’s team-leading 18th off Koivu’s pinpoint pass.

Ten minutes later, the Wild extended its lead to 3-0 when Zucker, recalled four times since Nov. 20, scored his first regular-season goal since March 10. It ended a 17-game point drought for the 21-year-old fan favorite.

By the end of the second, the Wild had a 23-12 lead in shots.

“We did all the small things, all the details right,” Backstrom said. “Shift after shift, we did the right things. That’s something you have to build off.”

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Wild 4, Buffalo 1

    Thursday January 2, 2014

  • Photo gallery: Wild 4, Buffalo 1

    Thursday January 2, 2014

    The Wild snapped a franchise-record six-game losing streak against the worst team in the NHL on Thursday with a...

  • Postgame: For one night, the Wild is able to breathe easier

    Thursday January 2, 2014

    The Wild snapped a six-game losing streak with a much-needed victory Thursday night

  • Wild notes: Harding sidelined, Konopka waived

    Friday January 3, 2014

    Josh Harding's illness Thursday was just the latest in the Wild’s never-ending goalie carousel.

  • Buffalo-Wild game recap

    Thursday January 2, 2014

    game recapStar Tribune’sThree Stars1. Jason Pominville, Wild: Buffalo’s former captain scored a goal (second winner in two games vs. old...

  • Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres. Minnesota scored three goals in the 2nd period. Wild Jason Zucker (16) scored the third goal of the second period beating Sabres goalie Ryan Miller on the play. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

  • Minnesota Wild vs. Buffalo Sabres. Minnesota scored three goals in the 2nd period. Wild Clayton Stoner helped goalie Niklas Backstrom defend against a shot on goal by Sabres Jamie McBain. (MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE(mlevison@startribune.com)

  • Marco Scandella and Wild fans celebrated after he scored the team’s first goal against Buffalo early in the second period. It was his second goal of the season. The Wild won 4-1.

  • 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 - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
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 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 4th Qtr 12:41
(3) Oregon 55
(25) Washington 17 4th Qtr 10:58
Hawaii 16
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 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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