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BURRIDGE, RASMUSSEN TAKE SEATS

Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff did a little roster juggling and some major line realignment for Sunday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Randy Burridge and Erik Rasmussen both sat out as healthy scratches, the first game either has missed this season. Scott Nichol -- who was recalled from Rochester on Saturday -- and Curtis Brown were inserted into the lineup. Nichol's time lasted only one shift, as he injured his shoulder in the first period and did not return to the game. The injury will be examined in Buffalo today.

The lines were different than the ones that skated together in Saturday's practice in Buffalo. Ruff opened the game with Wayne Primeau between Dixon Ward and Jason Dawe. Brian Holzinger centered for Michal Grosek and Miroslav Satan. Derek Plante teamed with Brown and Donald Audette. Nichol worked with Brad May and Rob Ray. The lines were scrambled after Nichol's injury.
Chicago had scored a total of six goals in its first seven games, so it almost doubled its season output with five goals against Buffalo. Sergei Krivokrasov's goal in the first period ended a team scoreless streak of 184 minutes, 26 seconds. The Blackhawks had been shut out in three of their previous four games, and their power play is 3 for 56 after going 1 for 6 Sunday.

The Blackhawks' win -- their first of the season after seven losses -- enabled them to avoid making some history. The New York Rangers of 1943-44 are the only team in league history to lose at least their first eight games; they dropped their first 11 to set the league record. Chicago avoided moving into undisputed possession of second place in that category.

Chicago sports fans have gotten used to bad starts -- the Bears have lost their first seven games this season. Yet both teams have a way to go to catch the Cubs, who dropped their first 14 starts back in April.
The game's three stars were all from Chicago: Eric Daze, Jeff Shantz and Alexei Zhamnov. . . . Grosek, who assisted on Satan's third-period goal, has points in his last five games.

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