Tonawanda News — ST. PAUL, Minn. — Jason Pominville scored another goal against his old team, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Thursday night to stop a franchise-record streak of six straight losses in regulation.
Marco Scandella scored, just 106 seconds before Pominville. Jason Zucker had the third goal in the second period against Ryan Miller, one of the three goalies recently picked for the U.S. Olympic team.
The Wild won for the first time since Dec. 17, and Niklas Backstrom picked up a victory for the first time in his last nine starts since Nov. 23. With Josh Harding sitting out with an illness, Backstrom stopped 19 shots.
Miller made 28 saves, not nearly enough for a Sabres team with by far the worst record and fewest goals in the NHL.
They were nearly shut out for the second straight game, following a 3-0 loss at Winnipeg on Tuesday, but Matt Ellis knocked in a loose puck in front of the net with 1:12 left.
The Sabres have not gone without a goal in consecutive games since Oct. 9 and 11, 2003.
The Wild entered the night with the second-lowest scoring average in the league, so naturally the first goal came more than 24½ minutes into the game. Scandella flashed a big smile after he beat defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to the slot and turned a pass from Matt Cooke into his first goal in 13 games.
Then Pominville, who had the game-winner in October when these teams met in Buffalo, scored against his former teammate by using a snap shot to sneak the puck between Miller’s glove and the post.
Zucker, playing on an all-21-year-old second line with Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund, stretched the lead to 3-0 with his first goal of the season. He was recalled on Wednesday from Iowa of the AHL for the fourth time since Nov. 20.