The former captain of the Buffalo Sabres came into the city he called home for nine seasons for the first time as a visitor, admitting that it would be an emotional return to the city where a career’s worth of memories were created.
But when the puck dropped it was business as usual for the 30-year-old Minnesota forward, as he played 15:51 for the Wild and scored the game-winning goal with 10 seconds left in the second period to beat Buffalo 2-1 on Monday night.
And what a fitting end it was for Pominville to play a key role in continuing the Wild’s winning streak, which is now at three games.
“It was a good way to finish it, for sure,” Pominville said. “So many good memories in this building, and the city and everything, so it was nice to get one and win it on top of it. So, it was good.
“It just tops off a pretty emotional day in a great way.”
Earlier in the day, Pominville told reporters that it felt weird making a left to go to the visitor’s locker room after entering the building instead of a right to go to the Sabres’ room (h/t Buffalo News). It’s safe to say that his team is happy that he has to make that left after Monday night.
“He’s a guy that brings so much to our team, so much to our locker room that you just want to go out and help him,” Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. “We’re real happy (for him).”
The Wild got on the board first 5:23 into the game, when Kyle Brodziak took a pass from Matt Cooke and buried a wrist shot past Buffalo goaltender Jhonas Enroth. Cooke leads the Wild in points with six in six games.
Buffalo would tie it with just less than five minutes remaining in the second period on a goal by Brian Flynn. Pominville’s goal came four minutes later.
Pominville and the Wild don’t have time to enjoy this one for too long, as they hit the road for a date with a much better Toronto team on Tuesday night in Toronto.
Note: All quotes gathered firsthand unless noted.