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Slumps and mumps: Wild desperate for a win without star players

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Beating the Buffalo Sabres should be a walk in the park; even for the shorthanded Minnesota Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Minnesota won't have captain Zach Parise for a fourth straight game as he continues to recover from a concussion.

The Wild has dropped four games in a row and to avoid a fifth straight loss they'll have to win not only without Parise, but defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella, both of whom are sick – possibly with mumps.

Earlier this month Wild players Keith Ballard and Christian Folin were tested for mumps. Ballard tested positive.

The infection seems to be spreading in the NHL. NHL.com reports that two Anaheim Ducks players have been diagnosed with the viral infection and the St. Louis Blues already had it go through their locker room.

“It starts with one person, and then it’s passed very quickly through water bottles, or a towel, or whatever, the shower floor," Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. "It just goes, like ‘right now,’ goes zipping through your team.”

Back to the Sabres for a moment. They're the worst team in the NHL and the stats don't lie. They've scored 19 goals this season, the fewest in the league, and they've allow 59 goals, the most in the league.

Jared Spurgeon is expected to play.

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