"Right now we're a good team, but I think we can be a little bit better," Roy said after getting two assists in Buffalo's 5-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, the Sabres' seventh straight win to start the season. "We have some work to do and some errors to clean up."
Despite Roy's feelings, it's hard to imagine the Sabres improving on their early season showing.
The win over the defending Stanley Cup champions was Buffalo's 12th consecutive victory, setting a franchise record and surpassing the 11-game winning streak that began at the end of the 1974-75 season. They are one win from matching their best start ever, set in 1975.
"We're confident and we know we have a good team," said Thomas Vanek, whose fourth goal of the season broke a third-period tie. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
Vanek's quick shot from the slot squirted through goalie Cam Ward's legs with 6½ minutes to go in the third and gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead. Jaroslav Spacek made it 5-3 nearly two minutes later.
"We know on the inside how good a team we are, but we're not going to talk about it on the outside," Pominville said. "We just want to play hard every night and keep proving to everybody that we are a good team."
"You don't go 7-0 by showing up and not competing or not having intensity," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said of the Sabres. "But we can play better than that."
Five of Buffalo's seven victories have come after it has trailed, including Friday night's intense rematch between the teams that advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season.
The teams traded goals in the first period before Staal gave Carolina a 2-1 lead 8:37 into the second period with the Hurricanes on a two-man advantage.
Kalinin answered for Buffalo with a shorthanded goal, blasting a high slap shot over Ward's right shoulder from the left circle.
Afinogenov gave the Sabres their first lead 58 seconds later, banking a shot that went off the back of Ward's skates. Carolina tied it at 3-3 just over two minutes later when Belanger's shot from the side of the net ricocheted off goalie Ryan Miller's skates.
"It's not the style of game we want to get involved in, especially with Buffalo," said Ward, who finished with 24 saves in making his fourth consecutive start and seventh overall. "We're better off not getting involved in a run-and-gun game."
Commodore made it interesting with a short-handed goal with 1:15 remaining in the third, cutting Buffalo's lead to 5-4, but the Sabres were able to hold on.
"We were so close last year, but when you get that close it makes you want to get more and see what that next step is," Pominville said. "Every time we play them they're a challenge ahead of us."
Miller improved to 6-0 by making 16 saves, including stopping Staal on a breakaway 30 seconds into the game.
"They're a good team," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said of Carolina. "They won the Cup. They're a heck of a test. They gave us all we could handle."
The Hurricanes wrap up their season-high seven-game road trip on Saturday against the New York Islanders. ... Buffalo opens a three-game road trip Saturday in Boston. ... Carolina forward Ray Whitney added two assists and is one point shy of 600 for his career. ... Carolina defenseman Bret Hedican was back in the lineup after missing two games with a hip injury. ... Kalinin and Commodore's goals were their team's first shorthanded scores this season. ... Only one penalty was called in the first period, and that came with 48 seconds remaining.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: First Niagara Center Location: Buffalo, New York
Referees: Dan Marouelli, Justin St. Pierre Linesmen: Michel Cormier, Derek Nansen
Attendance: 18,690 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Scott Walker (4)
Assist: Eric Staal
Jason Pominville (4)
Assists: Jochen Hecht, Danny Briere
Eric Staal (4)
(Power Play) Assists: Ray Whitney, Erik Cole
Dmitri Kalinin (1)
(Shorthanded) Assists: Paul Gaustad, Jason Pominville
Maxim Afinogenov (4)
Assists: Brian Campbell, Derek Roy
Eric Belanger (3)
Assists: Ray Whitney, Chad LaRose
Thomas Vanek (4)
(Power Play) Assists: Maxim Afinogenov, Derek Roy
Jaroslav Spacek (2)
Assists: Thomas Vanek, Maxim Afinogenov
Mike Commodore (2)
(Shorthanded) Assist: Erik Cole