The Sabres finished off an impressive weekend with two monumental road victories over the Flyers and the Wild. Despite giving up a two goal lead in the second period, Buffalo battled and came away with the victory.
With the win, the Sabres moved past Carolina and into the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo are now one point ahead of the Hurricanes and two back of the Rangers, but have three games in hand on New York and one on Carolina.
Steve Montador and Thomas Vanek helped set Pominville up for the game’s first goal just 1:23 into the opening period.
It took him 54 games, but Rob Niedermayer finally scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. The goal was his first since March 17th, 2010, a span of 71 games, including playoffs.
The Sabres went up 2-0, but squandered that lead and allowed Minnesota back into the game. Warren Peters scored his first of the season as the Wild cut the lead in half, making it 2-1. Marek Zidlicky scored his 5th goal of the season, tying the game at two.
Stafford finished the game off with a goal that almost mirrored Jason Pominville’s goal back in the ’05-’05 playoffs against Ottawa’s Ray Emery.
“It was good to get that one”, Stafford said. “It was kind of a tough game, but we stuck with it and got the extra point and it feels pretty good.”
Jhonas Enroth received the start in net and made 24 of 26 saves to earn the win. Jose Theodore took the loss, but stopped 30 of 33 shots.
Andrej Sekera earned two assists, giving him nine points in the past four games.
The Sabres bench was shortened as the game went on. Buffalo was already without Mike Grier and Jochen Hecht. Patrick Kaleta left the game due to a lower body injury after blocking a shot at the end of the second period and Tyler Ennis was knocked into the boards awkwardly.
The Sabres are now 5-0-2 under new owner Terry Pegula. Jhonas Enroth still does not have an NHL win in regulation.
The Sabres will head to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins on Tuesday. The Sabres are 3-0-1 on the current seven game road trip. Buffalo still need to play games in Pittsburgh, Boston and Toronto before heading home.