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Fast start key vs. struggling Wild

By Mike Harrington

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Sabres haven't won a road game under Ted Nolan. The Minnesota Wild has lost six straight games in regulation for the first time in franchise history. Something is going to give tonight in XCel Energy Center. And if the Sabres win, there's plenty of chatter it could be the job of Wild coach Mike Yeo.

A fast start for the Sabres would be great for them obviously in the wake of their 3-0 loss Tuesday in Winnipeg. And it could turn the crowd quickly against the home team on (seriously) Jason Pominville Bobblehead Night. Of course, the Sabres have just 11 first-period goals this season so there's that issue too.

"When teams are struggling, that's what you like to do," Nolan said after the Sabres' gameday skate. "But in this league boy, you just never know."

(By the way, I'll have a post about Pominville up later this afternoon)

Tyler Myers took yesterday off but will play tonight with Brayden McNabb a scratch. Steve Ott did not take the morning skate but Nolan said that was maintenance and that his captain will play tonight.

"He's a competitive guy," Nolan said. "Once in a while you have to pull him back and give him some rest to make sure he's ready for games."

As for the power play, Nolan said the Sabres need to get some bigger bodies in front of the net. I asked him, "No. 32?". He smiled and said, "More than likely. He's the biggest one we've got."

So look for ex-Wild member John Scott in some man-advantage situations tonight.

Josh Harding is sick and embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo said Niklas Backstrom will start in goal against Ryan Miller Backstom (2-9-2, 3.32, .893) has given up 24 goals in his past six starts. The Wild has slipped to 10th in the West, a huge disappointment given the money it had paid out prior to last season to defenseman Ryan Suter and the injured Zach Parise.

Click below to hear Nolan's pregame comments today on items such as the roster, Scott, starting fast against the struggling Wild, and rookie Zemgus Girgensons.

Ted Nolan


Minnesota Wild
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |