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Ruff tops Bowman for most victories with Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff finally has a
silver lining in a season riddled with losing and turmoil.

Maxim Afinogenov scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the
second period as Ruff passed Scotty Bowman with his
franchise-record 211th victory in the Sabres' 5-2 victory over the
Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.

Ruff is 211-201-70 in six years with Buffalo. Bowman was
210-134-60.

The Sabres, who Ruff led to the Stanley Cup finals in 1999, have
been mired in last place most of the season amid rumors the
franchise could move or fold after it filed for bankruptcy.

''He's been through this whole thing with us,'' Sabres goalie
Martin Biron said. ''We as a team are sticking together, and I
think tonight is a big, big positive stepping stone for him.''

Jochen Hecht and James Patrick added insurance goals, and J.P.
Dumont and Daniel Briere also scored for Buffalo, which broke an
0-2-1-1 skid.

Ruff takes solace knowing his team hasn't given up this season.

''Nobody's quit,'' he said. ''I don't think there's been more
than two or three nights where I've been really disappointed in the
club, and I don't know there's many clubs in the league that can
say that.''

Ruff knows Bowman's the more accomplished coach.

''I'm sure I'll see Scotty. I can mention 211 wins, and he's
going to mention a couple handfuls of Stanley Cups,'' Ruff joked.
''So he's going to one-up me right away.''

Patrick, who played three seasons with Ruff with the New York
Rangers, knows how difficult the season has been.

''For him to still be teaching the young players and still be
positive and still never give up ...'' Patrick said. (There were)
times this year when situations were really bleak.''

John LeClair and Tony Amonte scored for Philadelphia, which had
its three-game winning streak snapped.

One night after an emotional victory in New Jersey, the Flyers lost
to the worst team in the league. Coach Ken Hitchcock did not make
himself available to the media after the game.

''We came in here against a team that played hungrier than we
did and deserved the two points,'' Flyers forward Keith Primeau
said.

Afinogenov made it 3-2 with his third goal 7:02 into the second
period when he backhanded a rebound past Robert Esche after the
goalie made a split save on Taylor Pyatt's shot.

Adam Mair fed Hecht down the middle from the left wing for his
seventh goal to make it 4-2 late in the second. Patrick scored on a
slap shot from the left circle 39 seconds into the third period.

The Flyers got even at 2 when Amonte tipped Eric Weinrich's
wrist shot from the point past Biron for his 16th of the season.
Amonte has three goals and seven points in four games with
Philadelphia.

Buffalo opened the scoring 3:30 in when the puck skipped over
Esche's stick behind the net to Briere, who tucked it in the side
for his 19th goal.

Less than three minutes later, Dumont tipped Rhett Warrener's
shot from the point past Esche for his 13th goal.

''There's no excuse,'' Esche said. ''I played awful.''

Philadelphia made it 2-1 when Eric Desjardins' shot deflected
off the crossbar to LeClair, who scored his 14th goal. After
missing 47 games with a dislocated right shoulder, LeClair has
three goals in four games.

Esche, making his third start of the season against Buffalo,
stopped 18 shots. Biron, playing in his 49th game, stopped 30.

Game notes
Sabres
center Curtis Brown played after missing two games because of a sprained
right knee. ... Pyatt has six points in seven games after going the
previous seven without a point. He left the game with a possible
concussion and will not play Wednesday. ... Philadelphia hasn't won
a regular-season game in Buffalo since April 8, 2001. ... Flyers center Jeremy Roenick has seven points in four games skating with Amonte.