The Wild couldn't ask for a much easier task Thursday than the worst-in-the-league Buffalo Sabres, and they made sure to take advantage and bust their recent slump, winning 4-1 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Having dropped their previous six games, Minnesota looked as if they may have a different head coach Friday if they took another one on the chin against the 26-point Sabres, but three second-period goals seem to have ensured Mike Yeo a job for now.
Jason Pominville scored his 18th goal of the year, sandwiched between Marco Scandella's second of the season and Jason Zucker's first lamp-lighter of the campaign in the second period.
Minnesota's final goal of the game came from Kyle Brodziak on a shot he never took.
With Buffalo's net empty as they tried to come back down two goals late, Brodziak was tripped up from behind with no defenders in front of him, and the officiating crew awarded a goal, Brodziak's third of the year. Had the same situation occurred with a goalie in net, a penalty shot would be awarded, but without the goalie present, a goal was the decision.
On the other end of the ice, Niklas Backstrom, who was filling in for a sick Josh Harding, stopped 19 Buffalo shots, and came up just short of his first shutout of the year when Buffalo scored with 72 seconds remaining. Still, Backstrom got his first win since Nov. 23, snapping his string of eight consecutive losses.
The Wild return to action at 7 p.m. Saturday against Washington.