To say that the Sabres' line of center Derek Roy, left wing Thomas Vanek and right wing Maxim Afinogenov had a pretty good week of work would be a colossal understatement.
The triumvirate accumulated 24 points in a three-game span that started with the Sabres' 9-1 drubbing of the Flyers. Fittingly, Afinogenov capped the seven-day dominance by being named the NHL's "First Star" of the week.
"We're moving the puck, moving our feet and creating offense," said Roy, who had five points in the stretch. "We're also talking a lot on the ice to each other, which helps."
Afinogenov, who led the league with 14 points heading into the Sabres' game in Montreal on Monday, scored three goals and added seven assists to earn top billing in the NHL's newly created "Three Stars" weekly honor system. Vanek, meanwhile, broke a third-period tie against the defending Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes on Friday thanks to a tic-tac-toe passing play involving both of his linemates.
"When all three of us are on the same page and skating and passing the puck, we're going to be tough to beat," Vanek said.
Though three weeks does not a season make, Afinogenov's honor most likely won't be the last one a Sabres player garners before all is said and done in April.
"We're young, we're confident, and we know we have a good team," Vanek said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
The beat goes on for the unbeaten Sabres. They set a franchise record with their ninth straight win to start the season on Monday, a 4-1 defeat of the Canadiens at Bell Centre. Second-period goals by center Chris Drury and right wing Jason Pominville helped lift the Sabres to their 14th consecutive regular-season win dating to last season.
Drury's wrister over Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet's left shoulder gave the Sabres a 2-0 second-period lead. It was his league-leading 10th goal, and it came with the Sabres down a man.
Right wing Mike Johnson's goal at 9:06 of the third spoiled goalie Ryan Miller's shutout bid and cut the Sabres' lead to 3-1, but Vanek's empty-net goal with 19 seconds left iced it. Miller finished with 26 saves in winning his seventh game. Right wing Jiri Novotny opened the scoring at 9:42 of the first period.
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