Carolina at Buffalo

Sabres still unbeaten; set franchise record with 12th straight win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Derek Roy and the Buffalo Sabres haven't let success go to their heads.

"Right now we're a good team, but I think we can be a little bit better," Roy said after getting two assists in Buffalo's 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, the Sabres' seventh straight win to start the season. "We have some work to do and some errors to clean up."

Despite Roy's feelings, it's hard to imagine the Sabres improving on their early season showing.

The win over the defending Stanley Cup champions was Buffalo's 12th consecutive victory, setting a franchise record and surpassing the 11-game winning streak that began at the end of the 1974-75 season. They are one win from matching their best start ever, set in 1975.

"We're confident and we know we have a good team," said Thomas Vanek, whose fourth goal of the season broke a third-period tie. "Hopefully we can keep it going."

Vanek's quick shot from the slot squirted through goalie Cam Ward's legs with 6 1/2 minutes to go in the third and gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead. Jaroslav Spacek made it 5-3 nearly two minutes later.

Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and two assists, and Jason Pominville and Dmitri Kalinin also scored for the Sabres, who haven't lost a regular-season game since April 7, against Philadelphia.

"We know on the inside how good a team we are, but we're not going to talk about it on the outside," Pominville said. "We just want to play hard every night and keep proving to everybody that we are a good team."

Scott Walker, Eric Staal, Eric Belanger and Mike Commodore had goals for the Hurricanes, who had their three-game winning streak stopped.

"You don't go 7-0 by showing up and not competing or not having intensity," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said of the Sabres. "But we can play better than that."

Five of Buffalo's seven victories have come after it has trailed, including Friday night's intense rematch between the teams that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season.

The teams traded goals in the first period before Staal gave Carolina a 2-1 lead 8:37 into the second period with the Hurricanes on a two-man advantage.

Kalinin answered for Buffalo with a short-handed goal, blasting a high slap shot over Ward's right shoulder from the left circle.

Afinogenov gave the Sabres their first lead 58 seconds later, banking a shot that went off the back of Ward's skates. Carolina tied it at 3-3 just over two minutes later when Belanger's shot from the side of the net ricocheted off goalie Ryan Miller's skates.

"It's not the style of game we want to get involved in, especially with Buffalo," said Ward, who finished with 24 saves in making his fourth consecutive start, and seventh overall. "We're better off not getting involved in a run-and-gun game."

Commodore made it interesting with a short-handed goal with 1:15 remaining in the third, cutting Buffalo's lead to 5-4, but the Sabres were able to hold on.

"We were so close last year, but when you get that close it makes you want to get more and see what that next step is," Pominville said. "Every time we play them they're a challenge ahead of us."

Miller improved to 6-0 by making 16 saves, including stopping Staal on a breakaway 30 seconds into the game.

"They're a good team," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said of Carolina. "They won the Cup. They're a heck of a test. They gave us all we could handle."

Notes

  • The Hurricanes wrap up their season-high seven-game road trip on Saturday against the New York Islanders.
  • Buffalo opens a three-game road trip Saturday in Boston.
  • Carolina F Ray Whitney added two assists, and is one point shy of 600 for his career.
  • Carolina D Bret Hedican was back in the lineup after missing two games with a hip injury.
  • Kalinin and Commodore's goals were their team's first short-handed scores this season.
  • Only one penalty was called in the first period, and that came with 48 seconds remaining.
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It's a tough angle, but Maxim Afinogenov's shot goes in off goalie Cam Ward's skate. (Getty Images)
It's a tough angle, but Maxim Afinogenov's shot goes in off goalie Cam Ward's skate. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Carolina (3-4-1)1214
Buffalo  (7-0-0) «1225
Three Stars
M. Afinogenov
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
T. Vanek
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
J. Spacek
BUF


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:28Scott Walker (4), Slap Shot - Assist: Eric Staal
09:14Jason Pominville (4), Slap Shot - Assists: Jochen Hecht, Daniel Briere
2ND PERIOD
08:37Power Play - Eric Staal (4), Snap Shot - Assists: Ray Whitney, Erik Cole
12:33Short - Dmitri Kalinin, Slap Shot - Assists: Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville
13:31Maxim Afinogenov (4), Slap Shot - Assists: Brian Campbell, Derek Roy
15:41Eric Belanger (3), Wrist Shot - Assists: Ray Whitney, Chad LaRose
3RD PERIOD
13:26Power Play - Thomas Vanek (4), Snap Shot - Assists: Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy
15:24Jaroslav Spacek (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Thomas Vanek, Maxim Afinogenov
18:45Short - Mike Commodore (2), Snap Shot - Assist: Erik Cole
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
19:12Briere: Tripping - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
01:55Hedican: Holding - 2 min.
02:43Adams: Hooking - 2 min.
06:52Briere: High sticking - 2 min.
08:10Numminen: Hooking - 2 min.
10:58Roy: Diving - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
06:01Kalinin: Interference - 2 min.
11:52Williams: Tripping - 2 min.
17:29Whitney: Hooking - 2 min.
18:04Brind'Amour: Holding the stick - 2 min.
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
Carolina67720
Buffalo7101229
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Cam Ward59:52245
Ryan Miller60:00164
Game Information
Attendance - 18690
Referees - Dan Marouelli, Justin St. Pierre
Linesmen - Michel Cormier, Derek Nansen
 
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