Jason Pominville played for the Buffalo Sabres for a decade. Tonight, he plays against them for the first time since he was traded to Minnesota for Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, and two draft picks at last seasons trade deadline.
He would be the deciding factor, scoring on the power play, to put down his former team, as the Wild defeated the Sabres, 2-1.
Buffalo, looking to still get their first win of the season, gave Ryan Miller a rest and went with Jhonas Enroth to start in net. It was Enroth’s third start of the season.
The first period, both teams started off slowly, generating small chances in the offensive zone.
It would only take a little under five and a half minutes for the first goal.
Minnesota started off deep behind the net in their own zone, came skating up the ice, and across the blue line. Matt Cooke swung a pass out to Kyle Brodziak who wristed a low shot through a Mike Weber-screened Enroth’s legs. Just like that, Buffalo was trailing, again.
The rest of the period played out with no change in scoring.
At the end of the first, the Wild led 1-0. The shots were very close, with the Wild holding a 6-5 lead in shots.
The start of the first had a very Super Bowl-ish feel to it. The lights that illuminate the First Niagara Center, refused to change to the actual lighting used during gameplay. With almost a 20 minute delay, the lights came back on and the game was back in action.
Staying true with the Super Bowl-ish feel, the second period showed a faster and much more competitive Sabres team who lacked a bit in the opening period.
Johan Larsson had a chance early but just missed. After 29 minutes of play, the shot count read only 8-8.
At the 11:31 mark of the second period, the struggling power play went back to work, already 0 for 3 on the PP tonight, the Sabres generated little chances with the extra attacker and the crowd began to boo the home team.
With the Sabres working hard to try and make a dent in the Minnesota net, Brian Flynn crashed the net on a 3 on 2 opportunity, cashing in a pass from Mikhail Grigorenko and lifting the puck over Josh Harding to lock the score up at one. The goal was Flynn’s first
of the season.
However, a hooking penalty to Drew Stafford would prove costly to the Sabres, but extremely good for Jason Pominville.
Pominville, with a little give and go with Jared Spurgeon, flipped the puck over to Mikko Koivu who passed it right back and Pominville wasted no time and wristed the puck short-side on Enroth to break the tie with 10 seconds remaining in the second.
Unfortunately, thats all she wrote. Even with a late man-up rush, the Wild had stopped the Sabres, who now drop to 0-6-1, tying a franchise record of longest winless streak to start season.
The Sabres, who allowed 30+ shots in the first six games, were able to turn down the Wild offense and hold them to 20 shots total, while only generating 23 themselves.
The Sabres travel to the Nassau Coliseum tomorrow night to play the New York Islanders, puck drop is 7PM.