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  • 1/4 PREVIEW: Wild Look to Sweep Season Series Against Sabres

    Giles Ferrell

    Minnesota Wild close out a brief two-game homestand as they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. Minnesota's lineup returns to full strength for the first time this season, as Nino Niederreiter re-enters the lineup after missing the past five games with a lower-body injury.


    Buffalo Sabres (10-20-9) projected lines and defensive pairings (via dailyfaceoff)

    28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinart

    9 Evander Kane - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okoposo

    67 Benoit Pouliot - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 29 Jason Pominville

    22 Johan Larsson - 10 Jacob Josefson - 17 Jordan Nolan

    6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

    19 Jake McCabe - 47 Zach Bogosian

    82 Nathan Beaulieu - 41 Justin Falk

    Starting Goaltender: 40 Robin Lehner (9-14-6, 2.75 GAA, .916 SV%, 1 SO)


    Noteworthy things:

    Buffalo holds an all-time record of 7-3-0 at Xcel Energy Center.

    This is Buffalo's first game since playing in the 2018 NHL Winter Classic. Buffalo lost 3-2 in overtime to the New York Rangers.

    This also marks the first game in a three-game road trip for the Sabres -- as they were the designated home team for Monday's Winter Classic.

    Jack Eichel has registered 11 points (7G-4A) in his past seven games. The seven goals in that time are tied for first in the NHL.

    Evander Kane, perhaps the biggest name out on the trade market right now, has scored five points (1G-4A) in five games against Minnesota since the 2014-15 season. Kane is tied for first on the Sabres in goals (15) and is second on the team in assists (19) and points (34) this season.

    Robin Lehner has two wins in four games (2-1-1) against Minnesota and holds a .952 save percentage in those meetings.

    Minnesota Wild projected lines and defensive pairings (via Dane Mizutani)

    16 Jason Zucker - 12 Eric Staal - 63 Tyler Ennis

    22 Nino Niederreiter - 9 Mikko Koivu - 64 Mikael Granlund

    11 Zach Parise - 3 Charlie Coyle - 14 Joel Eriksson Ek

    17 Marcus Foligno - 7 Matt Cullen - 26 Daniel Winnik

    20 Ryan Suter - 46 Jared Spurgeon

    25 Jonas Brodin - 24 Matt Dumba

    23 Gustav Olofsson - 39 Nate Prosser

    Starting Goaltender: 40 Devan Dubnyk (14-8-2, 2.59 GAA, .919 SV%, 3 SO)


    Noteworthy things:

    Minnesota has dominated Buffalo in the past decade, getting points in 11 of the past 14 meetings (9-3-2 in that time) dating back to March 2007.

    As they close out the homestand, the Wild enter the evening winners of 10 of the past 12 games in St. Paul (10-1-1).

    Eric Staal has tallied 12 points (7G-5A) in the past 12 games, and owns a career mark of 15G-30A-45P in 46 games against the Sabres.

    Niederreiter returns to the Wild lineup after missing the past five games. The Chur, Switzerland native scored two goals in Minnesota's 5-4 win over Buffalo on Nov. 24.

    Matt Dumba (4G-3A in his past seven games) currently holds 99 career points -- all with Minnesota -- and can become the seventh blueliner in team history to hit the century mark in points scored.

    Devan Dubnyk will get his second consecutive start for the Wild tonight. In his career against the Sabres, Dubnyk has posted a career mark of 4-2-0 with a 1.83 GAA, .935 save percentage, and two shutouts.



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