It was somewhat of a homecoming for former Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville on Monday, Oct. 14, playing his first game in Buffalo since being traded to the Minnesota Wild in April. He made the most of it as well, netting the game winner as the Wild defeated the Sabres 2-1.
The Wild didn’t waste much time getting on the board against the struggling Sabres, as Kyle Brodziak scored 5:23 into the opening period to give the Wild an early lead. After taking a pass from Matt Cooke, Brodziak skated into the right faceoff circle and let a wrist shot go that beat Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth through the five-hole to put the Wild up 1-0.
The Sabres were eventually able to even the score late in the second period on a goal by Brian Flynn. After taking control of the puck in the neutral zone, Sabres rookie forward Zemgus Girgensons skated along the left wing boards into the corner of the offensive zone before sending a pass in front of the Minnesota net to Flynn, who was joining the rush. Flynn wristed a shot that Wild goalie Josh Harding was able to stop, but Flynn was able to cash in on his own rebound and chip it over Harding’s shoulder to even the score with 4:56 remaining in the second period. The goal came after a lengthy delay earlier in the second period due to a power outage at the First Niagara Center.
The tie was short lived, however, as Jason Pominville was able to put the Wild back in the lead 4:46 later, capping off a pretty passing play. After taking a pass at center ice from Jared Spurgeon, Pominville quickly passed it back to Spurgeon along the right wing wall just outside the Buffalo blue line. Spurgeon then passed it back to Pominville as he entered the offensive zone, who in turn passed it over to Mikko Koivu who was entering the high slot. Koivu then passed the puck back over to Pominville, who then fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that eluded Enroth to put the Wild up 2-1 with only ten seconds remaining in the second period.
The goal would end up being the game winner, as the third period went scoreless.
With the goal, Pominville has now scored a goal against all 30 NHL teams in his career, a feat that was not possible until the former Sabres captain got a chance to face his old team as a member of the Wild.
Despite the loss, the Sabres outshot their opponent for the first time this season, outshooting the Wild 23-20 in the game. Josh Harding was able to stop 22 of the 23 shots the Sabres sent his way, while Jhonas Enroth made 18 saves on 20 shots from the Wild.
Making his third start of the season for the Sabres to give Ryan Miller a night off, Enroth is now 0-2-1 on the year with .909 save percentage and a 2.65 goals against average.
With the loss, the Sabres remain winless with an 0-6-1 record after the first seven games of the season. In another disheartening stat, the Sabres have only averaged one goal per game so far this season, and have only scored more than one goal in a game on one occasion.
After the loss at home to Minnesota, the Sabres will travel to Long Island to face the New York Islanders at 7 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Oct. 15.