Devan Dubnyk to Make Wild Debut Against Buffalo Sabres


Some old faces, some new; losing streaks, a suspended player and more highlight the storylines heading into tonight’s Buffalo Sabres vs. Minnesota Wild game.

The Minnesota Wild are riding a season-high six-game losing streak in to tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. They’ve gone pointless in their last four games, including a 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. With an overall record of 18-19-5, the Wild are last in their division, four points back from the Minnesota Wild, and third-last in the Western Conference.

There are two big storylines for the Minnesota Wild heading into tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

First, the Wild have a new goaltender on their roster, adding Devan Dubnyk via trade on Wednesday. Dubnyk was traded to the Wild from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a third round draft pick, brought in by general manager Chuck Fletcher to hopefully alleviate some of the Wild’s goaltending woes.

With the late trade, it was originally unclear if Dubnyk would join the Wild in Buffalo or not, but indeed – he made it from Arizona to Buffalo and will start tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Dubnyk took to the ice with his new teammates Thursday morning at First Niagara Center, as his jersey for tonight’s game was being stitched in the hallway. He’s expected to start Thursday’s game.

The other big storyline following the Minnesota Wild into tonight’s game is a two-game suspension handed out to assistant captain Ryan Suter. After elbowing Pittsburgh Penguins forward Steve Downie in the head during Tuesday’s game, Suter faced a hearing Wednesday with NHL Player Safety. He received a two-game suspension, meaning he’ll miss tonight’s game against Buffalo and Saturday’s game against Arizona.

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  • In other player news, the Wild placed Justin Falk and Marco Scandella on IR Thursday, recalling Mathew Dumba from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. Tonight will be his first NHL game since November 28. Overall, Dumba has four points in 20 games with the NHL wild this season, and with a spot opened up by Suter’s suspension, could get the chance to shine the next two games.

    Buffalo Sabres fans who catch tonight’s game will see former Sabres Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville return to Buffalo.

    Pominville, who played with the Sabres from 2003 until 2013, leads the Wild with 33 points in 42 games, including nine goals and 24 assists.

    Vanek has 25 points in 42 games, including seven goals and 18 assists. Both players have eight power-play points.

    While both players have previously made their returns to Buffalo since departing, this is the first time both will return together, after Vanek joined Pominville in Minnesota last summer.

    On the Buffalo side of things, Torrey Mitchell, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick all spent time with the Wild last season and were involved in a single trade.

    Another player who’s been solid for the Wild this year is left winger Zach Parise, who is second on the team with 14 goals. He also has 16 assists for an overall 30 points in 35 games. Parise has a team-high five power play goals – tied with Nino Niederreiter – and overall, the Wild appear (at least on paper) to be a dangerous team with the man advantage. Also keep an eye on Jason Zucker, who leads the Wild with 15 goals.

    Overall, tonight’s game will see two struggling teams face off. A losing streak will come to an end, one way or another, and we’ll get the first glance at Dubnyk with his new team.

    It may or may not be a wild night.

    Next: Struggling Wild, Sabres Face Off