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Associated Press
10/26/2006 10:31:57 PM


UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Sabres are making their historic start look easy.

Maxim Afinogenov pumped in a goal and assist, Ryan Miller stopped 29 shots, and the perfect Sabres beat the New York Islanders 3-0 Thursday night to win their 10th straight game and match the best start the NHL has ever seen.

Afinogenov set up Ales Kotalik's first-period goal and scored one in the second. Miller did the rest for the Sabres, who joined the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams to jump out 10-0.

The Sabres can break the record at home against Atlanta on Saturday. Buffalo, which fell one win shy of the Stanley Cup final last season, has a team-record 15 consecutive regular-season victories.

By the time Jason Pominville stretched the lead to 3-0 early in the third period, the sparse crowd of 8,861 at Nassau Coliseum had already grown frustrated with the home team. Boos and groans were easily heard, as were the many saves that thumped off Miller's pads and blocker.

The Sabres have quickly become the flashiest offensive team in the NHL, posting 49 goals in their first 10 games. But they used a methodical attack against the Islanders, scoring once in each period to back Miller's strong goaltending. The 26-year-old American improved to 8-0 and posted his third career shutout.

Kotalik provided the only offence Buffalo would need with a power-play goal in the opening period.

Jaroslav Spacek and Afinogenov worked a two-man game on the right side of the Islanders zone. Spacek then slid a crossing pass to Kotalik, who ripped a shot from above the left circle past Rick DiPietro that smacked the back of the net and caromed back out at 6:09 - 47 seconds into Buffalo's 5-on-3 power play.

The only downside for the Sabres was they converted only one of seven power plays.

New York outshot Buffalo 11-6 in the second period, but each Islanders scoring chance was thwarted by Miller, who improved to 4-0 on the road this season.

Buffalo doubled its advantage with a trademark burst of speed.

FULL STORY
 

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Yeah .. I saw Buffalo kinda stumble a little - hope that the lowly Isles didn't influence their play.

The NEXT game will be the biggie. Atlanta is HUNGRY and talented.

Ohh boy - what a battle. ;)
 

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Yes, that should be a very good game to watch!!!

Lots of speed on both sides, and the talent on the ice, won't be anything to laugh at either!!
 

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... and this should thicken the plot:

Three Buffalo Sabres regulars may miss Saturday's showdown with the Atlanta Thrashers at HSBC Arena. Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said the team would wait until the end of the day to decide whether they would call up any reinforcements from Rochester.

Jochen Hecht, Henrik Tallinder and Derek Roy all missed Friday's practice with injuries sustained in Thursday night's 3-0 win over the New York Islanders on Long Island.

Hecht took a puck to the mouth and didn't return to the line-up. Ruff said Hecht lost some skin, but didn't know specifics. Roy has what Ruff described as a lower body injury, while Tallinder has an upper body injury. Tallinder was hit high by Trent Hunter's stick, but it is not known when he sustained his injury.
WBEN 930 : Three Sabres Hurt; Status For Saturday Uncertain
 

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10-0-0. That's quite impressive.

Tonight they can take the record for themselves, but Kovalchuk and Hossa are playing very well.
 
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