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Ready to face their old team, Pominville and Scandella know how to flip the script on a season

They know how to flip the script.

Both Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella did it before as part of the the 2014-15 Minnesota Wild team.

Let's go back three seasons for a moment, when the Wild were near the bottom of the NHL standings and out of a playoff spot with an 18-19-0-5 record.

The Wild traded for Devan Dubnyk, giving up a third-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes for the goaltender. His first game for the Wild was in Buffalo on Jan. 15, 2015 and he proceeded to earn a shutout in a 7-0 win in KeyBank Center.

That sparked the Wild. They lost only seven games the rest of the season. They had the best record from that point on in the NHL at 26-7-0-2. They earned a wild-card playoff spot, going from the bottom quarter of the league into the postseason.

So while the standings are dismal for the Buffalo Sabres, both Pominville and Scandella know from experience that the script can indeed be flipped.

"It was a snowball effect," Pominville said Tuesday afternoon after the Sabres practiced in KeyBank Center. "We won a game and then (Dubnyk) got confidence and the team got confidence and it kind of was a snowball effect. We kept believing and pushing. We were playing a lot of games with not a lot of days off so you just get in that rhythm and you feel good about your game, you feel good about yourself. The team feels good about itself. Just felt we couldn't be denied. No matter what, we were going to win that game. It's a great feeling to have."

The Sabres will be looking for that feeling, well, any positive feeling, when they host the  Wild at 7 p.m. Wednesday in KeyBank Center.

It will be the first time Pominville and Scandella will play against their former team. They were traded to the Sabres in exchange for Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno over the summer.

And the return to Buffalo hasn't gone quite as planned for Pominville, who was with the organization from 2003 to 2013. The Sabres have lost three straight games and are winless in their last six (0-4-2). After a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at home on Monday, the Sabres continue to have the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst in the NHL, one point better than the Arizona Coyotes.

"Anything's possible when you believe," Pominville said. "When you get back to that swagger, that confidence as a team, you feel like anything you do, you can't be denied. Right now, it's almost the other way where we're giving up a bounce and we're getting scored on or we're not getting the bounce offensively. And when you're going well those bounces offensively usually come a little easier but at the same time you've got to work for them. We're not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We are where we are. We've got to dig deep and keep working and keep pushing to be better."

Pominville is fourth on the Sabres in scoring thanks to a hot start. He had five points (four goals, one assist) in his first five games. His production has trailed off, but he's back on a line with Jack Eichel, which coach Phil Housley hopes will kick start the veteran's offensive touch. Pominville has gone six games without a point.

"Pommer really got off to a very good start," Housley said. "He's dipped a little bit. He was moved down to the third line to try and spread the balance around. He's been terrific. He's been working really hard and I'd like to have him find his scoring touch again now playing with Jack."

Scandella has become the ironman of the defensive corps. His average ice time is 23 minutes, 43 seconds. That's second only to Rasmus Ristolainen, who was averaging 27:09 before he went on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury on Nov. 4.

"Marco's done a terrific job," Housley said. "He's logged a lot of minutes and played in every situation. He's brought a great energy to our locker room. He says things at the right time. He's a true competitor."

Scandella played seven seasons with the Wild. Self-described as a "glass-half-full kind of person" he sees an opportunity for the Sabres to flip their script, just like Minnesota did three seasons ago.

"There's a lot of things that can change it," Scandella said. "It can be (a trade). It can be just a big come-from-behind win, a big win on the road, or just stringing a couple together. That's what we need to do. We need to find a way to win a game and it's just going to open everything up. Everybody's going to be squeezing the stick a little less hard.

"I think every hockey player to get to this point has gone through some adversity," Scandella said. "If you just know how to handle it, we've all been through it before. It's just the game of life. So you just have to be positive about it. Negativity, it just doesn't help anyone. It doesn't help the team situation. Staying positive is definitely what we need to do."

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