October 21, 2006
By Brian Wheeler
The Buffalo Sabres have set themselves up for a chance to make franchise history. Buffalo now stands just one win shy of setting the team's all-time record for most consecutive victories to start the season after winning their eighth straight game with a 6-2 thumping of the Boston Bruins.
The NHL record for longest winning streak from the start of a season is 10 games, set by the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1993-94 season. Buffalo's two eight-game streaks - 1975-76 and 2006-07 seasons - are tied for second all-time.
"You always have to keep working and improving every game," said goaltender Martin Biron. "There is no one on the roster that looks back and says, 'last night we played well, we can take tonight off.' That's not happening and it's been the key to our fast start."
A major catalyst for Buffalo's success has been the sensational play of the line of Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek. The trio has combined to record 24 points in the last three games.
On Saturday night, Vanek led that line in scoring with a goal and two assists, Afinogenov scored a goal and added an assist, and Roy recorded an assist.
Chris Drury scored a pair of power-play goals, while Ales Kotalik and Jason Pominville added goals of their own. The Sabres have averaged 6.75 goals per game in the team's last four contests.
"The guys are excited about [the scoring increase]," said Biron. "It makes them want to keep skating and working hard."
After a slow start to the season, Buffalo power-play unit is beginning to heat up. In the last five games, the Sabres have converted on 11 of 28 chances - 39 per cent conversion rate - since starting the season one for 21 with the man advantage.
Martin Biron remained undefeated with 24 saves in his second start of the season.
On the power play, Drury ripped a one-timer shortside from the top of the left face-off circle to give Buffalo the early lead at 6:08 of the first.
Wade Brookbank received a feed from Marc Savard at the left faceoff dot and tied the game with a low wristshot glove side on Martin Biron at the 8:02 mark of the first.
A misplay by Boston goaltender Hannu Toivonen allowed the Sabres to take the lead. While trying to control a dump in by Vanek, Toivonen accidently dropped his stick and left Kotalik with an easy chip shot for his second goal of the season.
Vanek found Pominville at the right post for the one timer on the power play and a two-goal Buffalo lead two minutes into the second
Afinogenov nets Buffalo's fourth goal after receiving a drop pass from Derek Roy at the goal line at 2:56.
Phil Kessel scores his first NHL goal with a quick wristshot through traffic off a faceoff to make the score 4-2 in favor of Buffalo.
Drury scores his second of the night after his across-ice pass banked into the net off defenseman Paul Mara's shoulder as he was sliding across the ice five minutes into the third period.
A long pass by Brian Campbell sprung Vanek on a breakaway where the second-year professional deked once to the backhand and snapped a wristshot topshelf over Tim Thomas' glove for the six Buffalo goal.
Quotes courtesy of WGR 550-AM, the official radio partner of the Buffalo Sabres.
Game Summary | Super Stats | Face-offs | Play-by-Play | Shift Chart