On Tuesday night, the Buffalo Sabres (11-25-4) were shutout by Al Montoya and the Winnipeg Jets, 3-0 in a New Year’s Eve matchup. Tonight, Buffalo looks to get back on track against the Minnesota Wild (20-17-5).
Tuesday night was a not a good effort by the Sabres against Winnipeg. Buffalo was caught turning over the puck too many times, and they could not support Jhonas Enroth in net. Enroth stopped 23 of 25 shots he faced, but it was not enough to help the Sabres.
“We have to get back to what we’ve been doing, and that’s driving to the net, stopping in front of it, and trying to have some net-front presence. If we do that, we will have some chances to score some goals, ” interim coach, Ted Nolan, said on Tuesday following the 3-0 loss. “We just didn’t do that tonight at all. We skated away from [the net], we had some tips, but [Montoya] was able to see the majority of them.”
It was announced after the Winter Classic on Wednesday that Ryan Miller was chosen to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics in February. Miller started for Team USA in the Vancouver Olympics, where he was named tournament MVP. He will have to contend with Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard for the starting roll on the team.
“Just getting that first opportunity to play in Vancouver really gives you a sense of what it’s like to play for your country on that kind of a stage,” said Miller on his Olympic experience. “It’s why we compete, it’s to have those kind of moments where you have a chance to accomplish something. It was a quick tournament, it’s kind of hard to come together but we managed to do it last time.”
For the Wild, they have lost six straight games in regulation since December 19. In their six game skid, the Wild have been out scored by a total of 26-13, and have lost Zach Parise due to injury. Their last loss came at the hands of the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night 2-1. The Wild are playing their third game of a four-game home-stand against Buffalo tonight.
In addition to Ryan Miller, it was also announced that Ryan Suter and Zach Parise will also represent Team USA in Sochi, Russia.
For Buffalo, Cody Hodgson was just recently placed on injured reserve with his broken finger. Ville Leino left early in Tuesday’s game, and did not return. He will not play tonight against Minnesota with a lower-body injury. Henrik Tallinder did not play Tuesday night, and could miss up to two weeks with an upper-body injury. Kevin Porter (undisclosed) and Cody McCormick (upper-body) remain on injured reserve.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Johan Larsson and Brayden McNabb have been recalled from the Rochester Americans. The Amerks have been in Switzerland playing in the Spengler Cup, but Larsson and McNabb got early flights back to the United States and have reported to Minnesota. Both are expected to play tonight.
As for the Wild, Zach Parise is on injured reserve and out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Clayton Stoner was just activated from injured reserve and should be available to return to the Wild lineup tonight.
Ryan Miller will be back in the nets for Buffalo, while Niklas Backstrom will be starting tonight for Josh Harding, who is ill with the flu.
Opening faceoff is set to drop shortly after 8pm tonight from the Xcel Energy Center. The game can be seen on MSG and heard on WGR 550 AM.
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