UNIONDALE, NY (LGS) — Ryan Miller made some huge saves early in the game before his teammates took over en route to a 3-0 shutout victory over the New York Islanders. The win lifted the Buffalo Sabres' record to 10-0-0 tying them with the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs for the longest winning streak to start a season. Dating back to last season, Buffalo has now won its last 15 regular season games.
The Sabres came out of the gate slow, but Miller was on top of his game putting aside some quality Islander scoring chances. He would go on to make 29 saves for his first shutout of the season and third of his career.
Buffalo would take over quickly by cashing in on the power play when Ales Kotalik ripped a one-timer past Rick DiPietro 6:09 into the game. It was Kotalik's third goal of the season with assists going to Jaroslav Spacek and Maxim Afinogenov.
Afinogenov would make DiPietro look sillier than the 15-year contract he signed 4:12 into the second period. Henrik Tallinder cleared the puck from the Buffalo zone and Afinogenov turned on his afterburners. The speedy winger broke in all alone and caught the Isles' goaltender taking a gamble. Maxim quickly blazed to the right before pushing the puck into a gaping net. His two points tonight tied him for the league lead with 16. Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers, Buffalo's next opponent, also has 16.
Jason Pominville would score his fourth goal in as many games 3:27 into the final period when his centering pass deflected into the net off an Islanders' defenseman. Briere picked up the primary assist which lifted his point scoring streak to a personal record of nine games.
Buffalo did have some bad news on the night as Jochen Hecht took a puck in the face late in the first period and did not return. The German winger needed stitches to shut the wound, but the injury is not considered to be serious.
POSTGAME POWER PLAY
a two-minute read on the good old hockey game...
MILD | medium | hot | suicidal
Three goals only? It must have been a really bad night for the Sabres. Even so, it didn't stop the NHL's best team from laying waste to the New York Islanders. The only thing exciting in this game was Maxim Afinogenov abusing Rick DiPietro on the breakaway.
The aforementioned Afinogenov. Many people wanted to trade the speedy Russian out of town last season, but it's a good thing that never materialized. Buffalo hasn't seen a dynamic player with the ability to lift you off your seat every time he touches the puck since Alexander the Great.
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. This joint should be condemned. No wonder only a brave 8,861 decided to take this game in.
Ryan Miller. So many nights we've seen the shutout just elude Miller, but not this time. "Milzy" made some big stops early on, and his teammates didn't let him down after that. Something tells me this will be the first of many shutouts this season.
Alexei Yashin. I'm almost afraid to see how much money Yashin is stealing from the Islanders. Once considered the premier player in the NHL, he's turned into nothing more than an average player.
Danny Briere. Briere has points in each of his last nine games, a personal record, but you can see in his eyes that he expects even more production from himself. Tonight he was buzzing all over the ice. Postgame Power Play Three Stars: 1. Ryan Miller (29 saves) 2. Maxim Afinogenov (goal, assist) 3. Paul Gaustad (assist, played so well you didn't know Hecht was missing) (Official stars at right)
The Burning Question
Does anyone in the New York Islanders organization have a pulse?
"It seemed like it happened in two seconds."
—Chris Drury on the time it took Afinogenov to pick up the puck in the neutral zone and score on the breakaway
In the Buffalo Wings
The high-flying Thrashers come into town on Saturday looking to spoil Buffalo's record party.