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Sabres: Five straight regular-season wins vs. Flyers

10/23/2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- There's something about the Philadelphia Flyers that brings out the best in the Buffalo Sabres.

The Flyers came into HSBC Arena on Tuesday night riding a five-game unbeaten streak to start the season. They left town with a 2-1 loss, courtesy of Miroslav Satan's fourth goal of the year at 10:42 of the third period.

Buffalo won all four meetings against Philadelphia last season.
Including the regular season and playoffs, the Flyers haven't won a
game in Buffalo since April 8, 2001. And for the fifth consecutive
game, Buffalo held the Philadelphia to just one goal.

"They're one of the premier teams in the league, and we knew they were playing real well coming in,'' said Sabres' forward Chris Gratton, a Flyer from 1997-99. "We knew they were going to be playing a real high-tempo game, so we tried to match that.''

Some sloppy play led to the game-winner, as Flyers defenseman Eric Weinrich fanned on a clearing pass inside his own blue line. Gratton tipped the puck over to Satan, who took a couple of strides before beating Roman Cechmanek between the legs with a wrist shot.

Satan turned 28 on Tuesday. It was the second time in his career
he scored a goal on his birthday.

Flyers' forward Keith Primeau said he expected the Sabres to
come out grinding after their disappointing loss to Phoenix on
Saturday night.

"We knew they were going to have a snarl on,'' Primeau said. "We just didn't have any zip at all.''

Vaclav Varada opened the scoring early in the second period when
he tipped a shot past Cechmanek. Gratton took the initial shot from
the point with a rolling puck. Taylor Pyatt got a slight piece of
the puck before Varada redirected it past Cechmanek as he cruised
through the slot.

Gratton said it was just a case of good things happening when shots are directed at the net.

"It's a perfect example. I just wanted to get the shot off, but
I had a couple of extra seconds to wait for Varada to get planted
in front to create a screen,'' Gratton said. "When you get guys in
front of the goaltender, it makes it awfully tough for him to see
the puck.''

With two assists, Gratton now has seven and leads the Sabres in scoring with 10 points.

The line of Gratton, Pyatt and Satan had five points on the night, and have now combined for 24 on the season.

With Buffalo's Henrik Tallinder off for hooking, Weinrich evened things up with his first goal of the season at 8:13 of the second period. Weinrich beat Martin Biron over his right shoulder with a 45-foot drive from just inside the blue line that went in off the crossbar.

The Flyers (3-1-2-0) have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their first six games.

Buffalo (3-2-1) finished 0-for-6 on the power play. The Flyers were 1-for-4.

Biron turned away 21 shots, including a big stop on Simon Gagne early in the third period. Cechmanek made 29 saves.

Buffalo defenseman Alexei Zhitnik left late in the third period
with a bruised knee after a knee-on-knee collision with
Philadelphia's John LeClair. He will evaluated further on
Wednesday.

Game notes
The attendance of 10,140 was just 24 more than the Sabres'
all-time low at HSBC Arena. ... The Flyers lead the all-time series
59-45-19. ... Jochen Hecht is day-to-day for the Sabres with a
bruised right knee. He will skate Wednesday and it's possible he'll
play Friday against New Jersey. ... Sabres' defensemen Brian
Campbell and Dmitri Kalinin were healthy scratches for the sixth
game in a row.