ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mired in a scoring slump, the Minnesota Wild broke out in a big way against a team that’s seen it happen all too often lately.
Nino Niederreiter had his first career three-goal game and backup goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots on Thursday night as the Minnesota Wild broke out of a scoring slump for a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres to snap a four-game skid.READ MORE: Como Park H.S. Student About To Take Flight As J-ROTC Cadet
The Wild have been missing leading scorer Zach Parise since Nov. 4. He’s out with a concussion and Minnesota scored two goals in three straight losses without him.
But the Wild regained their scoring touch early Thursday, notching four goals and 20 shots in the first period.
“We needed that just to get things turned around,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “We did a lot of good things to generate some offense . now we have to build off that.”
Meanwhile, the Sabres lost their fifth straight and gave up six goals for their third consecutive game. They’ve allowed at least four goals in nine of 18 games this season.
“It’s kind of sad to watch team after team after team go through us in the defensive zone like we don’t know what we’re doing,” Nolan said. “We have so many guys puck-staring, watching the puck and not being aware of what’s behind them. We’re at the National Hockey League level. You’d think you’d be teaching at the junior level and in the American Hockey League level, but at this level you would think guys would be aware of their surroundings.”
After Rasmus Ristolainen scored his first goal of the season just 1:03 in for Buffalo, the teams combined for three goals in a 17-second span midway through the period.
First Minnesota’s Ryan Carter tied it when he slipped behind Buffalo goalie Jhonas Enroth and batted a puck out of midair with the shaft of his stick.
“That was a quick play,” said Carter, who looked like a baseball player laying down a bunt. “I don’t know how I thought of it or why I did it. It worked out.”