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Sabres beat Wild 3-2

BUFFALO, New York (AP) – Jeff Skinner and JJ Peterka each had a goal and an assist, leading the Buffalo Sabres to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Friday night.

Henri Jokiharju also scored for Buffalo, and Devon Levi made 31 saves. The Sabres won for the fourth time in six games (4-1-1).

“Hopefully finding a way to win is going to become a typical way, because we needed to find a way to win tonight,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I thought it was, in the end, a hell of a gut check for our guys and they pushed through.”

Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek scored for the Wild, and Filip Gustavsson stopped 22 shots. Minnesota has lost six of eight (2-5-1).

Jared Spurgeon nearly forced overtime in the game’s final moments, firing a shot off the post with 10 seconds remaining.

“It’s obviously frustrating,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “It sucks to say we’ve got to take a lot of positives out of this hockey game because the end result is very negative…but there’s a lot of good things that are happening.”

Skinner gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead with 58 seconds left in the second period, scoring on a breakaway. After the Sabres were dominated for much of the period, Skinner went to his forehand to score his seventh goal of the season. Peterka set up the breakaway by forcing a turnover.

“Obviously maybe not our best game but found a way to get a win, which is the important thing,” Skinner said. “So try to pick up some of the positives and take them into tomorrow.”

Peterka made it 3-1 following a pretty passing sequence that saw Tage Thompson find Peterka from behind the Minnesota net. It was Peterka’s sixth goal of the season and Thompson’s 100th career assist.

Eriksson Ek got the Wild back in it with a power-play goal with 7:33 remaining. It was his eighth.

Jokiharju opened the scoring with 1:58 left in the first period on a blast through traffic from the point for his second.

Kaprizov made it 1-1 with 30 seconds left in the first period, finishing a cross-ice pass inside the right circle for his fifth.

The goalies dominated the game’s opening stretch. Gustavsson thwarted Zemgus Girgensons on a partial breakaway, and Levi stopped Ryan Hartman with his right pad on a big opportunity from close range.

Sabres forward Matthew Savoie, the ninth overall pick in the 2022 draft, played in his first NHL game.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi (27) and right wing Tage Thompson (72) celebrate after a victory in an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild on Friday. PHOTO: AP