For the first time this season, the Minnesota Wild and Buffalo Sabres met up to play some hockey. Fans at the Xcel Energy Center would soon be disappointed because the visiting Sabres left town with a win and two points, defeating Minnesota, 3-2.
The Wild came close to tying the game late in the third period with the goaltender pulled. Thomas Vanek tipped in a goal with the extra attacker to bring Minnesota back within one.
A big first period had Buffalo on top 3-0 as it received goals from Jamie Mcginn, Rasmus Ristolainen and Brian Gionta. The latter two goals came just 20 seconds apart. The Sabres outshot Minnesota, 11-10, in the opening period, but they beat Devan Dubnyk three times.
“On the road, we were keeping it simple. We wanted to take the crowd out of it, take them out of the game early.” – Jamie McGinn
Those three goals were all Buffalo would get. Fortunately for them, it was enough, but that’s because they had Linus Ullmark in goal making several big stops.
It was the second straight start for Ullmark, who stopped 28 of 30 shots to earn the win.
“It shows fans when we play like we should, we’re really good,” Ullmark said.
After building a three goal lead, the Wild remained in the game, and didn’t let up. After Thomas Vanek took a penalty for goaltender interference, it was Minnesota that scored during the next two minutes.
Ryan Suter’s shot went into the air, bounced off Ullmark and went into the net to get the Wild on the board.
“I like the way we battled hard in the third,” said head coach Dan Bylsma. “I thought we didn’t give them a lot. It was hard fought the whole way.”
The Sabres will have a couple of days off before they host Boston on Friday and Washington on Saturday. Both of those games are scheduled for a 7 p.m. puck drop.