BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -First the Sabres were winning the tight ones. Now they're blowing teams out.
Buffalo has rolled to a perfect start through six games. With a 9-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night, the Sabres don't seem to be slowing down a bit.
"Not all games are going to go like this," coach Lindy Ruff said. "You're painting a pretty picture. But it hasn't been that easy."
The Sabres are sure making it look that way, taking full control against the Flyers with a six-goal, second-period outburst.
The Sabres have also won 11 straight regular-season games, tying the franchise record established 31 years ago.
Still, no one's getting too excited.
"Just take it in stride and handling it with maturity," said Ryan Miller, who stopped 37 shots and denied Mike Richards on a penalty shot in the first period. "We're not going to celebrate. You could easily be on the other end of a game like that."
Tell that to the Flyers (1-4-1), who are having difficulty finding their offense and unraveling on defense. It was the most goals they've allowed since a 9-4 loss at Pittsburgh on Feb. 9, 2001.
"It's totally embarrassing," captain Peter Forsberg said. "It's not one or two guys, it's the whole team."
And no one was pointing fingers at Robert Esche, who allowed nine goals on 37 shots. Making his first start since the season opener, Esche was left helpless by a flat-footed defense that couldn't keep up against the Sabres' speedy forwards.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Vanek sparked the goal surge, converting his own rebound 37 seconds into the middle period. By the time the frame was over, Buffalo had scored six times on 12 shots, converted three of four power-play chances, and ended the period by scoring three times in a 2 1/2-minute span.
The Sabres added three more in the first 5 minutes of the third period.
After winning their first four games by one-goal margins, and three in shootouts, Buffalo has outscored its last two opponents 16-5. They beat the New York Rangers 7-4 on Saturday.
"We didn't try to run it up," said Chris Drury, who scored once to extend his point streak to six games (seven goals and three assists). "Coaches just kept preaching our system, and things just kept kind of clicking."
Also scoring for the Sabres were Jiri Novotny, Jaroslav Spacek and Henrik Tallinder.
Jeff Carter spoiled Miller's shutout bid by scoring 2 minutes into the third period, but the Flyers have managed just 12 goals in six games.
"I don't think we'll self-destruct," Carter said. "We did all of the self-destructing tonight. Hopefully, this is rock bottom."
It was the first meeting between the teams since Buffalo beat Philadelphia 7-1 in Game 6 to win last year's first-round playoff series. And this was reminiscent of Buffalo's 8-2 drubbing of the Flyers in Game 2 of that series. The Sabres again showed their speed was too much for Philadelphia's plodding defense.
That was particularly evident when Afinogenov capped the second-period run. The speedy winger went end-to-end, maneuvered around a flat-footed Derian Hatcher, and jammed the puck past Esche.
Notes: The six goals allowed by the Flyers in the second period matched a franchise worst, last done against New Jersey in March 1993. ... The Flyers have failed on their last four penalty shots and are 12-of-33 overall. Miller has not allowed a goal on two penalty shots. The Sabres have yielded 17 goals on 40 chances. ... The Sabres' six-goal period was three short of a franchise record and their most since scoring six against Ottawa in October 1992.
|Thomas Vanek (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Teppo Numminen (2), Maxim Afinogenov (3)|
1 - 0 BUF
|PPG - Jaroslav Spacek (1) Slapshot - ASST: Daniel Briere (6), Teppo Numminen (3)|
2 - 0 BUF
|PPG - Chris Drury (7) Snap shot - ASST: Paul Gaustad (2), Daniel Briere (7)|
3 - 0 BUF
|Derek Roy (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Thomas Vanek (3)|
4 - 0 BUF
|Henrik Tallinder (2) Slapshot - ASST: Toni Lydman (3), Maxim Afinogenov (4)|
5 - 0 BUF
|PPG - Maxim Afinogenov (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Ales Kotalik (1)|
6 - 0 BUF
|Jeff Carter (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Randy Robitaille (2), Robert Esche (1)|
6 - 1 BUF
|Derek Roy (2) Backhand shot - ASST: Maxim Afinogenov (5), Thomas Vanek (4)|
7 - 1 BUF
|Jiri Novotny (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Ales Kotalik (2), Toni Lydman (4)|
8 - 1 BUF
|Thomas Vanek (3) Tip-in - ASST: Maxim Afinogenov (6), Brian Campbell (2)|
9 - 1 BUF
|Adam Mair Boarding against Mike Knuble|
|Andrew Peters Roughing against Boyd Kane|
|Boyd Kane Roughing against Andrew Peters|
|Teppo Numminen Hooking against Kyle Calder|
|Geoff Sanderson Holding against Maxim Afinogenov|
|Maxim Afinogenov Roughing against Jeff Carter|
|Jeff Carter Roughing against Maxim Afinogenov|
|Toni Lydman Tripping|
|Andrew Peters Roughing against Freddy Meyer|
|Joni Pitkanen Holding against Henrik Tallinder|
|Mike Richards Hooking against Jaroslav Spacek|
|Brian Campbell Tripping against Sami Kapanen|
|Peter Forsberg Interference against Paul Gaustad|
|Mike Knuble Slashing|
|Mike Knuble Roughing against Andrew Peters|