Having already set a franchise record for longest winning streak, the Buffalo Sabres now try to match their best start in club history Saturday when they play the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden.
The Sabres (7-0-0) ran their winning streak to a club-record 12 games, dating to last season, with a 5-4 victory Friday over the defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes.
Thomas Vanek snapped a 3-all tie with a power-play goal with 6:34 left and assisted on a goal by Jaroslav Spacek nearly two minutes later.
"We're confident and we know we have a good team," Vanek said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
Vanek and Maxim Afinogenov, who had a goal and two assists in Friday's win, have combined for six goals and 16 points in Buffalo's last three games. Vanek had 25 goals and 48 points last season as a rookie, while Afinogenov had team highs of 51 assists and 73 points - he also has 15 assists and 22 points lifetime against the Bruins, his most against any opponent.
Together, the linemates have the Sabres - the NHL's last undefeated team this season - on the verge of their best start since going 8-0 in the 1975-76 season.
"We know on the inside how good a team we are, but we're not going to talk about it on the outside," Sabres right wing Jason Pominville said. "We just want to play hard every night and keep proving to everybody that we are a good team."
The Sabres went 7-1 against the Bruins last season, outscoring them 31-20. Afinogenov had three goals and nine points in seven games against Boston, while Vanek had three goals and 10 points while playing all eight.
After taking just three points from their first five games - all on the road - the Bruins (2-3-1) opened a six-game homestand with a 3-2 victory Thursday over the Calgary Flames, ending a three-game losing streak in which they were outscored 11-4.
Brad Boyes and Glen Murray each scored first-period goals before Murray netted a power-play goal in the second period that proved to be the game-winner.
"Everybody got their butterflies out," said captain and defenseman Zdeno Chara, who leads the team with five points. "And everybody was really pumped up. In the arena you could fill that energy after we scored that first goal."
Murray, who has scored goals in consecutive games, has 17 goals and 28 points in 53 lifetime games against the Sabres.
Hannu Toivonen is expected to start after making 28 saves Thursday. He allowed four in each of his prior two starts, but Bruins coach Dave Lewis seems determined to see what the 22-year-old can do after he was limited to 19 games last season due to a sprained ankle.
Toivonen allowed four goals in his only start against Buffalo on Oct. 20, 2005.