Thomas Vanek scored twice in the third period for the Buffalo Sabres, but it was not enough as the Minnesota Wild walk away with a 3-2 Friday night at HSBC Arena. The Wild scored twice in the first period, and once in the second to keep the Arena crowd hushed for much of the game.
Andrew Ebbett slid a wrist shot along the ice and beat Patrick Lalime to the far corner to give the Wild an early 1-0 lead over the Sabres. Ebbett’s eighth goal of the season came on the power play three minutes into the game.
Marek Zidlicky and Josh Harding assisted on the power play marker. Guillaume Latendresse upped the Minnesota lead to 2-0 after Lalime handed the forward the puck behind the net on a clearing attempt. Latendresse swung out from behind the net and pushed the puck in the net to extend the lead.
The Sabres outshot the Wild in the second period, but the deficit grew to 3-0 thanks to Andrew Brunette. The forward scored with about a minute and half to go in the middle stanza. Antti Miettinen was credit with the lone assist on the even strength tally.
Buffalo outshot Minnesota 12-10 in the second. The two teams combined for five minor penalties in the period, but neither team scored on the man advantage.
Vanek beat Josh Harding for the power play goal that cut the Sabres’ deficit to 3-1 early in the third period. Vanek’s twenty-first goal of the season came as Mikko Koivu was in the penalty box for tripping.
Derek Roy and Jason Pominville assisted on Vanek’s goal. Vanek would score with Patrick Lalime pulled in favor of an extra attacker with two minutes to go in the third.
The goal brought Buffalo within one, 3-2. The team had several chances in the final moments, but could not get the game tying goal and fell by one to Minnesota.