MONTREAL (AP) -The Buffalo Sabres are doing a great job of handling the attention that comes with their record-setting start.
Chris Drury scored his 10th goal and Buffalo set a new team record by extending its season-opening winning streak to nine games with a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.
The Sabres moved to within one victory of tying Toronto's league record of 10 straight wins at the start of the 1993-94 season. Buffalo matched its previous record of eight, set in 1975-76, with a 6-2 win in Boston on Saturday.
"It doesn't have a lot to do with me," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "Those guys in the room are responsible for each other and keeping their feet on the ground. They're hearing a lot of accolades and how well they're playing and you wonder how they're going to react, and I think it really falls on their shoulders and they've done a really good job with it."
Ryan Miller made 26 saves, losing a bid for his first shutout of the season on Mike Johnson's goal 9:06 into the third.
"We're trying to have fun, that's the main thing," Miller said. "It's early in the season and we know from last year how much things can change. We had a decent start and then we had to really put together a good stretch to build our game and be a playoff team. I'll put a dollar on it right now that we don't win 82 games."
Drury, who had two points to tie Maxim Afinogenov for the team lead with 14, assisted on Jiri Novotny's goal midway through the first before scoring his seventh goal in five games midway through the second, an unassisted short-handed effort that put Buffalo up 2-0.
Jason Pominville scored for the third straight game moments later, deflecting Daniel Briere's shot past Cristobal Huet to increase the Sabres' lead to three. Thomas Vanek extended his goals streak to four games when he scored into an empty net after stepping out of the penalty box with 19 seconds left in the third.
"I think we're a pretty well-grounded group," Pominville said. "We work hard every night, and usually when you work hard you give yourself a chance to win."
Montreal, which blew a two-goal lead in Buffalo on Oct. 6 before losing 5-4 in a shootout, lost in regulation for just the second time in eight games (4-2-2).
Huet stopped 22 shots for the Canadiens and his record fell to 1-1-2.
With Montreal controlling play early, Huet missed a long wrist shot by Novotny 9:42 into the first on Buffalo's second shot of the period. Novotny put a shot on net from just over the blue line that struck Huet's glove. The Canadiens' goalie remained in his butterfly stance as the puck popped into the air and dropped behind him into the net.
"I felt that it wasn't in front of me, but I really don't know," Huet said. "I tried to control the puck but it went behind me."
Drury added to the Sabres' lead midway in the second when he stripped the puck off Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov in front of Montreal's blue line and raced down the left side, beating Huet with a wrist shot to the top right corner from well within the left faceoff circle.
"That's a rough one to take, especially to make it 2-0," Canadiens left wing Chris Higgins said. "That was a big goal for them. It was a mistake at the blue line and more often than not, with those players up front, it's going to end up in a goal, and it did."
Briere extended his points streak to eight games on Pominville's goal 2:02 later. The Sabres co-captain came out from behind the net and turned before shooting from the slot, collecting his 12th point of the season as Pominville redirected the puck past Huet to put Buffalo up by three.
Notes: Miller, who improved to 7-0, has three shutouts in 73 regular-season games. He had one shutout in 18 playoff games last spring. ... Canadiens C Radek Bonk played after missing Montreal's last two practices because of back spasms. ... Montreal recalled F Maxim Lapierre from Hamilton of the AHL earlier in the day though he did not dress for the game.
|Jiri Novotny (3) ASST: Chris Drury (4), Teppo Numminen (4)|
1 - 0 BUF
|SHG - Chris Drury (10) ASST: NONE|
2 - 0 BUF
|Jason Pominville (5) ASST: Daniel Briere (10), Jochen Hecht (5)|
3 - 0 BUF
|Mike Johnson (3) ASST: Radek Bonk (2)|
3 - 1 BUF
|EN - Thomas Vanek (6) ASST: Dmitri Kalinin (3), Teppo Numminen (5)|
4 - 1 BUF
|Henrik Tallinder Hooking against Chris Higgins|
|Tomas Plekanec Hi-sticking|
|Guillaume Latendresse Hooking against Jaroslav Spacek|
|Brian Campbell Hooking against Chris Higgins|
|Andrei Markov Hooking against Jason Pominville|
|Sheldon Souray Hooking against Maxim Afinogenov|
|Jason Pominville Hooking against Andrei Markov|
|Alex Kovalev Boarding against Jiri Novotny|
|Alex Kovalev Slashing against Daniel Briere|
|Thomas Vanek Tripping against Chris Higgins|