Wild visit Sabres in clash of sliding clubs

(SportsNetwork.com) - On the bright side, either the Minnesota Wild or Buffalo Sabres will end their losing streak on Thursday night.

The two teams square off in western New York having lost a combined 14 consecutive games -- the Wild six in a row and the Sabres having dropped eight straight.

Minnesota is on its longest slide of the season and reached another low point on Tuesday when it was routed 7-2 by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jonas Brodin and Justin Fontaine had the goals as the Wild fell to 0-5-1 on its skid.

Niklas Backstrom allowed six goals on 35 shots and John Curry gave up a goal on two shots in relief.

"For whatever reason, we just fall apart," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. "The things just compound quickly."

Minnesota is aiming to avoid its longest losing streak since going 0-5-2 from Feb. 4-18, 2012 and shook up its roster on Wednesday by acquiring goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 third-round pick.

The Wild are need of help in net with Darcy Kuemper currently sidelined with a lower-body injury that has held him out of the past four games, while Backstrom has posted a 3.04 goals against average and .887 save percentage on the season.

Dubnyk appeared in 19 games for Arizona this season, posting a record of 9-5-2 with a 2.72 GAA and a .916 save percentage. It is unknown if he will be able to debut tonight or if Backstrom will start.

Regardless of who is in net, the Wild won't have key defenseman Ryan Suter as he begins a two-game suspension tonight for delivering an elbow to the head of Pittsburgh's Steve Downie on Tuesday.

Suter leaves a big void as he leads the NHL with an average ice time of 29 minutes and 34 seconds per game.

THe Wild recalled defenseman Matt Dumba from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, while placing Justin Faulk and Marco Scandella on injured reserve. Faulk suffered an upper-body injury versus the Pens, while Scandella has missed the past four games with an upper-body issue.

The Sabres continue to drop down the NHL standings thanks to their longest slide of the season. Only the Edmonton Oilers (29) have fewer points than Buffalo's 31.

The Sabres finished last in the NHL in 2013-14 with 52 points.

Buffalo lost for the 12th time in 13 games on Tuesday with a 3-1 setback to the Detroit Red Wings. Mike Weber had a goal and Michal Neuvirth yielded all three goals on 30 shots.

"You have to play hard every night and play the right way," said Weber. "We've shown at times during the season that we can skate and play with any team out there."

Buffalo has not scored more than two goals in any of the eight games on its losing streak and has dropped each game in regulation. It has not lost nine straight since an 0-5-5 slump from Dec. 26, 2007-Jan. 16, 2008.

The Sabres are 2-for-21 on the power play during their losing streak, so coach Ted Nolan opted to move 6-foot-8 defenseman Tyler Myers up front on the man advantage during practice on Wednesday.

Myers could assume the screen-setting role tonight on the power play, while forward Chris Stewart is slated to return from a two-game absence caused by the flu.

The Sabres have lost three in a row versus the Wild, including a 6-3 loss in Minnesota on Nov. 13. Jhonas Enroth gave up five goals on 38 shots in defeat and is expected to start tonight. He is 1-2-0 versus the Wild with a 3.02 GAA and .893 save percentage.

Nino Niederreiter had a hat trick in the victory for the Wild, while Kuemper was yanked 6:24 into the contest after allowing goals on the only two shots he faced. Backstrom picked up the win in relief by making 25 stops the rest of the way.

Minnesota is 5-2-0 all-time in Buffalo.