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Sabres top Hurricanes

Briere's lone score in shootout lifts Buffalo in playoff rematch

Daniel Briere scored the only goal in a shootout and Ryan Miller stopped Carolina cold to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-2 victory over the Stanley Cup-champion Hurricanes last night in Raleigh, N.C., in a season-opening rematch of last year's Eastern Conference finals.

Briere, the Sabres' first shootout skater, faked right and beat Cam Ward with a backhander for the only goal in the tiebreaker. ``I didn't know what I would do until I got there," Briere said.

Jason Pominville and Chris Drury each had goals during regulation for the Sabres, who lost Game 7 and vowed to use the defeat as motivation this season. Before the season opener, they stayed in their locker room and listened to the raucous celebration while the Hurricanes raised their championship banner and celebrated their first Cup title.

``Their emotions were running high at the start," Miller said. ``We just sat in here during the celebration, but we could hear it."

Miller made 32 saves in regulation and overtime and then came up big in the shootout. Carolina's Ray Whitney missed the net on the first attempt, before Miller stopped Eric Staal with his stick on the second and blocked Erik Cole's weak attempt on the third.

Ward stopped 29 shots, and Staal and Cole had goals for the Hurricanes, who held one final pregame party with the Stanley Cup before they began the grueling task of defending their title.

During the 20-minute celebration, flashbulbs popped, those rowdy 'Caniacs whooped it up, and the Scorpions' ``Rock You Like a Hurricane" blared. Then, the championship banner -- commemorating the first major professional title won by a team from North Carolina -- was raised to the rafters.

Senators 4, Maple Leafs 1 -- Martin Gerber made 33 saves as Ottawa beat host Toronto.

Patrick Eaves, Chris Neil, Cristoph Schubert, and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Senators, who lost top players Zdeno Chara and Martin Havlat in the offseason.

They didn't need them against the Maple Leafs, who have been outscored, 44-20, in losing eight of nine games to Ottawa.

Mats Sundin scored on a breakaway for the Leafs, who are entering their 40th season since they last won the Stanley Cup.

Before the game, the Maple Leafs honored former greats Borje Salming, Red Kelly, and Hap Day by raising their numbers to the rafters.

``When you have guys like Borje Salming on the ice before the game, if that doesn't get you going I don't know what does," Sundin said. ``I don't care if you're 25 or 35, that's a great atmosphere."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty watched from the stands.

Toronto had a few good chances early but couldn't score on Gerber, who was signed to replace Dominik Hasek in the offseason.

Stars 3, Avalanche 2 -- Darryl Sydor came out of the penalty box to take a pass from goaltender Marty Turco and score the winning goal at 2:07 of overtime in Denver as Dallas beat Colorado, extending its season-opening unbeaten streak to 10 years.

Turco stopped several power-play shots from the Avalanche, the last one by Marek Svatos, before swatting the puck to Sydor as he streaked to center ice. Sydor took the puck in stride and beat Jose Theodore over his right shoulder.

Sydor began the overtime in the penalty box for slashing after the third period ended.

The Stars' 7-0-3 mark since 1995 is the fourth-longest unbeaten opening-night streak in NHL history. Colorado still owns the NHL's best opening-night record at 15-6-6.

The Stars trailed, 2-0, after two periods but tied it in the third on goals 28 seconds apart by Mike Modano and Loui Eriksson, then overcame Colorado's power play to beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs five months ago.

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