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Kotalik scores in shootout and Sabres defeat Flyers for sixth straight win

PHILADELPHIA - Buffalo's Thomas Vanek said he was just doing his job.

Vanek scored with 7.2 seconds left in regulation, Ales Kotalik had the only shootout goal and the Sabres beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-5 on Saturday night to sweep the home-and-home series and extend their season-high winning streak to six games.

"I like distracting the goalie," Vanek explained after he redirected Jochen Hecht's shot from the centre of the right circle to send the game into overtime.

"Jochen had a great shot. I had a good tip on it and it went in. That's my job. I like doing it."

Kotalik, who also scored in regulation, beat goalie Martin Biron, his former Sabre teammate, to the glove side for the winner.

"I know Marty is probably going to know what I'm going to try to do," Kotalik explained. "So I was trying to do something different."

Said Biron: "I thought we did everything we needed to do in the third period to win it. It was just a matter of maybe six inches at one end of the ice to keep the puck down at the other end of the ice. That would have been the difference."

Philadelphia had battled back from a 3-1 deficit to take a 5-4 lead when Kimmo Timonen scored on a power play 3:51 into the third period.

Jeff Carter and Mike Richards each had two goals in regulation for the Flyers, who have lost a season-high six straight games. They have lost nine of their last 10 at home since opening the season 6-0 in Philadelphia.

"We're going to have to deal with it," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "We have to come and play hard for 60 minutes every night coming back from Christmas because we put ourselves in a hole that we have to climb out of."

Maxim Afinogenov, Jason Pominville, and Jaroslav Spacek also scored for the Sabres, who have won 13 of their last 17 games.

"I thought we battled for every inch we got," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "There was a lot of emotion."

Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 31 saves. Biron stopped 23 shots.

Buffalo took a 1-0 lead on a power play 2:18 into the game when Afinogenov scored on a one-timer from the right circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Pominville.

Philadelphia tied it at 16:40 of the period with the teams skating 4-on-4 when Carter chipped in a rebound of a shot by R.J. Umberger.

Kotalik regained the lead for the Sabres when he hammered in a rebound of his own shot during a scramble in front of the net at 3:00 of the second period.

Pominville made it 3-1 at 7:54 when he picked up a loose puck and scored from inside the right circle.

The Flyers pulled even with a pair of short-handed goals midway through the second period. Carter scored on a deflection at 12:08, and 55 seconds later, Richards scored after intercepting a clearing attempt.

The teams then traded power-play goals by Spacek and Richards, each with a two-man advantage, and were tied at 4 at the end of the second period.

The Sabres beat the Flyers 3-2 in Buffalo on Friday night.

Notes: Buffalo C Tim Connolly was scratched because of a stomach virus and D Nolan Pratt was a healthy scratch. Philadelphia D Randy Jones was scratched due to a knee injury. ... The Flyers have not won a home game since Dec. 11, when they defeated Pittsburgh, 8-2. ... The Flyers' record for fastest short-handed goal is 26 seconds, when Murray Craven and Mark Howe scored at New Jersey on Nov. 6, 1986. ...It was the Sabres' first shootout of the season.


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