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Phoenix routs Buffalo 6-2 in Sabres' eighth straight road loss

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

GLENDALE, Ariz. - There were stars all around for Phoenix in the Coyotes' rout of Buffalo. As often is the case, Shane Doan headed the list.

Doan had what coach Wayne Gretzky called "a tremendous goal" and an assist as the Coyotes sent the Sabres to a franchise-record eighth consecutive road loss 6-2 on Monday. The team captain extended his career-best points streak to 11 games.

"He's just taking the team on his shoulders right now, there's no question," Gretzky said. "He's playing probably better than I've ever seen him play."

Five other Coyotes scored as the team matched its highest-scoring game of the season.

Doan, Niko Kapanen and Derek Morris scored in a span of just over 5½ minutes of the second period against backup Buffalo goalie Jocelyn Thibault. Peter Mueller, Phoenix's 19-year-old centre, scored his 13th goal and extended his points streak to seven games.

"It was a tough night for Joc," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "They got off to a tough start with the first one. He battled back the rest of the period, and I thought he was going to be OK, but it was a night we couldn't overcome those goals and we didn't give him enough support."

Daniel Winnik and Ed Jovanovski also scored for Phoenix. Paul Gaustad and Thomas Vanek had goals for the Sabres, in the second stop of a seven-game road trip that will pause for the all-star break.

The Sabres snapped a franchise-record 10-game overall losing streak with a 10-1 win against Atlanta on Friday, but followed with a 4-2 loss at Toronto on Saturday.

"It's repetitive but we have to stick together and keep playing our system and play better," Gaustad said. "We're not happy in here at all. Every guy has to look at himself in the mirror and then stick together. We have to find a way. We have to be better. We're not pointing fingers."

Kapanen put Phoenix ahead for good 2-1 on a power play, when he intercepted Toni Lydman's attempt to clear the puck from behind the net, then wristed it in off the goalie's glove.

"They kind of took the play to us in the last of the first (period)," Doan said. "That first one was big for them, to tie it up at 1-1. We could feel their energy pick up. We kind of dropped it for a little bit and we had to answer. It was big for us to get that next goal right away.

Doan's 16th goal of the season just over three minutes later put Phoenix ahead 3-1. The Coyotes' captain manoeuvred the puck through traffic, then shot it just off the right corner post into the net.

"Over the last probably 15 to 20 games, he's just become more and more of a dominant player," Gretzky said. "You watch Shane each night, he's just a big horse out there. The more I play him, the better he plays."

It was 4-1 after Morris rocketed a slap shot from about 65 feet through the goalie's legs at 12:30 of the second. Fredrick Sjostrom and Keith Ballard got assists.

Phoenix scored on its first shot 54 seconds into the game on a 3-on-2 breakaway. Winnik finished the play, with assists from Martin Hanzal and Zbynek Michalek. Buffalo tied it when Gaustad scored off a rebound of Daniel Paille's shot at 10:54 of the second.

Phoenix outshot the Sabres 24-12 through the first two periods.

But Drew Stafford took a perfect pass from Vanek and scored to cut the lead to 4-2.

Phoenix put it away with two goals in 1:05, Mueller's breakaway goal with 2:57 to play and Jovanovski added another with 1:52 remaining.

Notes: The Coyotes are 17-0-0 when they score at least four goals. ... The Sabres have not scored a power-play goal during their road skid. ... Buffalo's last road win was a 6-5 shootout over Philadelphia on Dec. 22. ... Fourteen Coyotes had points in the game.


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