Published January 13, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild will aim for a third consecutive victory when they visit the winless Buffalo Sabres for Monday's battle at First Niagara Center.
The Wild began the season with three straight losses (0-1-2) before posting recent home wins over Winnipeg and Dallas. Minnesota will try to stay hot on the road, as it opens a four-game trip Monday evening in Buffalo.
Minnesota's most recent victory came in Saturday's rout of the visiting Stars. Justin Fontaine sparked Minnesota with a goal 12 seconds into the contest and the Wild rolled to a 5-1 decision at Xcel Energy Center.
Matt Cooke netted the eventual game-winner midway through the first period, while Mathew Dumba, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise all added goals in the triumph.
"What's most important to me is wins," Cooke said. "Tonight was a step in the right direction. That was our first, full 60-minute game."
Josh Harding stopped 18 shots to earn the win, and with regular No. 1 Niklas Backstrom still dealing with a strained knee, he could see his third straight start on Monday.
Minnesota forward Jason Pominville will make his return to Buffalo on Monday after he was traded by the Sabres to the Wild during last season. Pominville was a second-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2001 and had 456 points over 578 career games with the Sabres.
Pominville's former team has yet to pick up a win in 2013-14, as the Sabres enter Monday with an 0-5-1 record. Buffalo hasn't gone this far into a season without a win since opening the 1999-2000 season with five losses and two ties.
Buffalo's offense has been nothing short of anemic in the early going with the team managing a total of six goals in six games. The Sabres scored one goal in each of their last two games, both of which wound up being regulation losses for Buffalo.
The Sabres were downed 2-1 in Chicago on Saturday, as Buffalo native Patrick Kane's power-play goal late in the second period proved to be the difference for the Blackhawks.
Drew Stafford netted the lone Buffalo goal, while Ryan Miller allowed both goals on 40 shots for the Sabres.
"We're just going to have to keep doing what we're doing until we break through," Miller remarked.
The Sabres, who will visit the New York Islanders on Tuesday, are 0-2-1 on home ice this season.
A good sign for Buffalo on Monday is that it has won two straight and three of the last four meetings against the Wild. However, Minnesota has taken four of the past six encounters in Western New York.