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Afinogenov steps up to lift Sabres past Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- Tim Connolly was so happy with his
goal, he was quite excited to go watch it on replay.

Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and assist in the third period to
lead the Buffalo Sabres past the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Monday
night.

Connolly added a power-play goal, and Derek Roy also scored for
Buffalo, which has won two in a row but remains four points
behind first-place Ottawa in the Northeast Division.

"We're in Canada, so I might get to see it on TV," Connolly
said of his goal. "We get a clutch goal when we need it, and
that's what happened."

Teppo Numminen finished with two assists as the Sabres opened a
six-game trip. Buffalo closed a six-game homestand with a
10-1 win over Los Angeles on Saturday.

"Everybody was waiting to see how we would react after the big
win at home," Numminen said. "This was huge for us."

Ales Hemsky scored for Edmonton, which has lost three in a row
against Eastern Conference teams.

The Sabres scored on two of four third-period shots to earn
their first win in Edmonton since a 1-0 victory on March 27, 1998.

"We took ourselves out of the game for two periods, then
couldn't get it going in the third period," Oilers coach Craig
MacTavish said. "A lot of it was a product of playing a good
team."

Edmonton gave Buffalo 11 power plays.

"It's tough when you're killing penalties all night," Oilers
captain Jason Smith said. "We're not getting the results we
want."

Buffalo's Ryan Miller stopped the Oilers on three third-period
power plays and turned aside 22 shots for his 13th win.

"Miller made the key saves when we needed him," Sabres coach
Lindy Ruff said. "That's all you can ask of him."

The Oilers went 3-3-4 this season against teams from the East.
Buffalo is 6-1-1 versus the West.

Hemsky was laid out after an open-ice hit in the first
period by Sabres defenseman Jay McKee, who appeared to stick out his
knee on the play. That resulted in a swift response from Smith,
who was assessed 17 penalty minutes.

"It's a team thing to do," Oilers center Marty Reasoner said.

Rookie Edmonton defenseman Matt Greene had a hard hit on Sabres
center Jiri Novotny in the second, then wrestled with Andrew Peters
to take a double minor for roughing. Oilers center Jarret Stoll
ended the second taking a double minor for high-sticking after
clipping Connolly in the face.

Game notes
The Oilers moved C J.J. Hunter off injured reserve and
assigned him to the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. ... Oilers enforcer
Georges Laraque was a healthy scratch after playing in 27 straight
games. ... Stoll's second-period power-play shot knocked off
Miller's mask.