for this game

Sabres extend perfect record to set franchise mark

Oct 24, 2006 - 1:52 AM MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Ryan Miller couldn't have picked a better opponent to help the Buffalo Sabres make history.

The Sabres received 26 saves from Miller and goals from four different players in defeating the Montreal Canadiens, 4-1, to set a franchise record for wins to start a season.

Buffalo improved to a league-best 9-0-0, surpassing the 1975-76 club that opened the season with eight straight victories. It was also the Sabres' 14th consecutive regular-season win, dating to last season.

"I'll put a dollar on it we don't win 82 games," Miller said. "That's just hockey, you get your streaks, you get your stretches and you learn how to play together. You enjoy it while it's good and when it's not going good, you have to work out of it."

One of the reasons things are going good for the Sabres is the play of Miller, who continued his mastery of the Canadiens, allowing only a third-period goal by Mike Johnson to improve to 7-0-0 this season and 6-0-1 lifetime against Montreal.

"It's early in the season and we know from last year how quickly things can change," Miller cautioned. "We had a decent start, but we had to put together a good stretch to make the playoffs."

The Sabres took command midway thought the second period with goals just over two minutes apart.

Chris Drury scored a shorthanded goal for his 10th tally of the season, tying him for the league lead, and Jason Pominville redirected a shot by Daniel Briere 2:02 later for a 3-0 advantage.

"Just getting that lead ... we played well and played our system," Buffalo's Derek Roy said. "It doesn't matter if we're up by a goal or down by a goal, we play the same style of game and keep coming."

Jiri Novotny opened the scoring when Canadiens goaltender Cristobal Huet allowed a soft first-period goal on a shot that deflected off his upper body, over his head and into the net.

"Our game plan was really good in the first period. Outside of the goal, we played a good period," Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. "(In the second), they took the puck at our blue line, came back and scored a second goal and we just fell apart."

Montreal tried to come back in vain against Miller, outshooting Buffalo, 13-7, in the final session. The Canadiens went 0-for-4 on the power play while the Sabres came up empty on six chances with the extra skater.

"You can't have letdowns and make mistakes against a team flying high like that," Montreal's Janne Niinimaa said. "We came back pretty hard in the third, but a team like that, you have to play a full 60 (minutes). We lost too many battles in the second."

Thomas Vanek added an empty-net goal for Buffalo, which can match Toronto's NHL record for victories to start a season on Thursday when it concludes a three-game road trip against the New York Islanders.