Buffalo (5-0-1) at Minnesota (4-0-0), 8:00 p.m. EDT
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) — The Minnesota Wild aim to stay
perfect on the young season when they face the red-hot Buffalo
Sabres on Thursday.
Minnesota is off to its third straight 4-0-0 start and has
allowed a league-low seven goals during that span. The Wild won
their first five games last season and the first six contests to
begin the 2006-07 campaign.
While Minnesota is off to another strong start, the team is
reportedly shopping two-time All-Star Marian Gaborik. The
franchise leader with 207 goals and 415 points was offered to an
unnamed team in a trade proposal last weekend, according to a
report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Tuesday. He has
missed the last two games with a “lower body” injury.
Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom recorded his 10th career
shutout in the team’s 1-0 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay
Lightning on Saturday. The 30-year-old Finn has made 114 saves
on 121 shots this season, a save percentage of .942.
Backstrom will have to be up to the task against the Sabres, who
are off to a flying start as well.
Left wing Thomas Vanek leads the league with seven goals, which
he scored through the club’s first five games of the season.
Vanek did not score in the Sabres’ 3-2 shootout victory over the
Boston Bruins on Tuesday, but the 24-year-old provided the
game-winner in the fifth round of the bonus format.
Goaltender Ryan Miller is also off to a good start as well,
allowing just six goals in four starts.
It will be Buffalo’s first visit to Minnesota since recording a
3-2 victory on December 11, 2005.