Buffalo 4, Toronto 0

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BUFFALO, NEW YORK (TICKER) Martin Biron is making his own mark as goaltender of the Buffalo Sabres.

Biron registered his third straight whitewash and established a franchise-record shutout string as the Sabres stretched their unbeaten streak to seven games with a 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The replacement for future Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek in the nets for Buffalo, Biron made 27 saves to record a third straight shutout for the first time in his career and help the Sabres improve to 5-0-2 during their season-high unbeaten run.

Biron also ran his shutout streak to 201 minutes, 12 seconds, breaking the mark of Hasek - a six-time Vezina Trophy winner - of 178:33. He has not yielded a goal since 3:48 into the third period of a victory at Montreal on January 11.

“I didn’t know it was a Sabres’ record that Dom did a few years ago,” Biron said. “It’s as good as I’ve felt, but a lot of the time it’s circumstances being in the right situation at the right time. In the last few games, guys have bailed me out.”

Miroslav Satan continued to take care of Buffalo’s offense, scoring twice and adding two assists. The Sabres’ scoring leader has recorded 11 points in his last eight games.

Toronto goaltender Ed Belfour, who returned after missing three games due to back spasms, was pulled for the first time this season as the Maple Leafs dropped back-to-back games after winning three in a row.

“They were crashing the net pretty well and the referees weren’t doing anything about it,” Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. “Our defensemen didn’t do anything about it either. So I took him out to save his life really.”

The Sabres have shut out their opponents four times in the last five games. Biron stopped 23 shots Tuesday, when the Sabres skated to a scoreless tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He made 30 saves on Saturday for his second shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Rookie netminder Ryan Miller also chipped in, recording his first career shutout on January 14 as Buffalo blanked Minnesota, 1-0.

“We have been getting fantastic goaltending, not just good goaltending,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “If you take a look at a couple of breakaways we gave them shorthanded, when things were going bad earlier this season, those went in the net. Those type of saves, you feed off and it usually builds momentum.”

Biron needed to be sharp to secure the shutout Friday. He denied the Maple Leafs on shorthanded chances from Paul Healey and Robert Reichel.

“I got the puck in the slot from (Alyn McCauley),” Healey said. “He made a great pass and I just tried to fake like I was shooting it right away and hopefully get him (Biron) to bite. … So I tried to slide it five-hole pretty quick, but he made a great save on it.”

“I tried to bait him with a low blocker and, as soon as he went to shoot it, I was able to cover it up at the right time,” Biron said.

Buffalo is enjoying its longest unbeaten run in more than four years. The Sabres posted streaks of eight games from November 29-December 18, 1998 and nine from October 27-November 20, 1998.

Satan recorded four points in a game for the first time this season. The game was scoreless 13:38 into the contest when Satan fed defenseman Henrik Tallinder, whose blast from the high slot was redirected by Chris Gratton between the pads of Belfour.

Tallinder recorded two assists and Gratton scored a goal and helped set up another.

The Sabres had a two-man advantage with 91 seconds left in the first period when Satan’s slapper from the right point deflected off the stick of Toronto defenseman Jyrki Lumme and past the hapless Belfour.

Taylor Pyatt recorded his first goal in 27 games just 92 seconds into the third to make it 3-0 and Satan capped the scoring on a breakaway with 11:16 to play.

After missing 20 games with a concussion, Jochen Hecht assisted on Satan’s third-period goal in his return.

“I felt good out there. It was easier than I thought to come back,” Hecht said. “I was kind of waiting for the first hit to come and get that out of the way. But I got a couple of good chances, and at the end I got rewarded with an assist.”

The Sabres also welcomed back Maxim Afinogenov, who took the ice for the first time this season, having also struggled with a concussion.

“It’s a little better feeling to finally be scoring a couple of more goals because usually it’s been one or two,” said Satan, who team had scored just four times in as many games. “So today, finally with the offensive additions we had, I think we had a little more spark.”

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