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Sabres extend unbeaten start

Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and two assists, and Thomas Vanek added a goal and an assist to help the Sabres remain unbeaten and set a franchise record with their 12th consecutive victory, 5-4 over the Carolina Hurricanes last night in Buffalo.

The Sabres, who are off to a 7-0 start, surpassed the 11-game winning streak that began at the end of the 1974-75 season. They are one game from matching their best start ever, set in 1975. Buffalo hasn't lost a regular-season game since April 7, against Philadelphia.

Vanek's quick shot from the slot squirted through goalie Cam Ward's legs with 6 1/2 minutes to go and gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead. Jaroslav Spacek made it 5-3 nearly two minutes later.

Jason Pominville and Dmitri Kalinin also scored for the Sabres.

Scott Walker, Eric Staal, Eric Belanger, and Mike Commodore had goals for the Hurricanes, who had their three-game winning streak stopped.

Ryan Miller improved to 6-0 by making 16 saves, including stopping Staal on a breakaway 30 seconds into the game. Ward finished with 24 saves.

Ducks 2, Wild 1 -- Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves to backstop a home win for Anaheim, which ended Minnesota's season-opening winning streak at six games.

Scott Niedermayer and Sean O'Donnell scored second-period goals for the Ducks. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had the Wild's lone score, closing the gap to 2-1 later in the second with what turned out to be the game's final goal.

Maple Leafs 4, Blue Jackets 2 -- Kyle Wellwood and Michael Peca, playing in his 700th career game, scored 34 seconds apart late in the second period to lead Toronto in Columbus, Ohio.

Bryan McCabe and John Pohl also scored and Andrew Raycroft had 23 saves for Toronto, which had given up 14 goals in its last three games.

Stars 5, Blackhawks 4 -- Philippe Boucher scored with 39 seconds left in regulation and host Dallas rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to match the best start in franchise history at 6-1.

The game seemed headed for overtime when Boucher's shot from the point got past Chicago goaltender Brian Boucher in the final minute as Jeff Halpern set a screen in front of the net. Martin Lapointe had given Chicago a 4-3 lead with 4:31 left.

Panthers 3, Flyers 2 -- Olli Jokinen scored the deciding goal late in the second period and host Florida handed Philadelphia its fifth straight loss, its longest skid since 2002.

Canucks 3, Blues 2 -- Markus Naslund's power-play goal with 25 seconds left in regulation kept Vancouver alive, and Sami Salo scored with less than a second left in overtime to give the Canucks the win in St. Louis.

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