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Associated Press
10/17/2006 9:58:44 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and four assists, helping the Buffalo Sabres maintain their perfect record in a 9-1 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

Thomas Vanek had two goals and two assists, and Derek Roy scored twice for the Sabres (6-0), who posted a six-goal second period and are two wins shy of matching their best start set in 1975.

Buffalo has also won 11 straight regular-season games, tying the franchise record established 21 years ago.

Also scoring for the Sabres were Chris Drury, who extended his point streak to six games (seven goals and three assists), Jiri Novotny, Jaroslav Spacek and Henrik Tallinder. Buffalo had its biggest offensive output since a 10-1 win over Los Angeles last January.

Jeff Carter spoiled Ryan Miller's shutout bid by scoring 2 minutes into the third period, but the Flyers have managed just 12 goals in six games.

Philadelphia (1-4-1) was so inept that it failed to put a puck on net during a first-period penalty shot. Mike Richards went wide to the left in an attempt to draw out Miller, but the goalie stayed in position, leaving Richards unable to get off a shot.

After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Vanek sparked the goal surge, converting his own rebound 37 seconds into the second 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 2½-minute span.

The Sabres, coming off a 7-4 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday, added three more in the first 5 minutes of the third period.

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 game 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 defence.

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Jesus says : Hitchcook shouldn't have left Esche in there for so long. It definatly destroyed his confidence. He had a very strong first period and then was obliterated. Buffalo looked strong and here's to a win filled season.. Except when they play the Leafs.
 

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Here is why:
Wake up calls - NHL - Yahoo! Sports

There is a power play going on in Philadelphia, where GM Bob Clarke had wanted head coach Ken Hitchcock to go with Robert Esche as his starting goalie ever since the season began. But Esche played poorly in the season-opening 4-0 loss to Pittsburgh, and Hitchcock has gone with Antero Niittymaki as his starting netminder, a decision that prompted Esche to tell reporters recently: "I don't try getting in his [Hitchcock's] head. It's an empty place."

So maybe Hitchcock was sending a message to both Esche and Clarke when he left his goalkeeper out to dry in the Flyers' 9-1 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday night. Esche made 28 saves and didn't allow a goal until 37 seconds into the second period, but his confidence was soon shot. Instead of removing Esche, Hitchcock left him in for the full game, calling to mind the lessen ex-Canadiens coach Mario Tremblay once tried to teach Patrick Roy before the Habs booted the future Hall-of-Famer to Colorado.
 
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