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Sabres Fire Their Longtime Coach

Buffalo, n.y. — Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was fired yesterady after the team’s latest slow start to the season and amid growing criticism from the team’s fan base.

The announcement was made on the team’s Twitter account and confirmed by Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert yesterday. Ruff was relieved of his duties shortly after the team held a 90-minute practice, and a day after the Sabres were booed several times by their home fans during a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Sabres (6-10-1) have gone 4-10-1 since opening the season winning their first two games.

With a 571-432-162 record, Ruff was the team’s winningest coach. In his 16th season, Ruff was also the active leader among NHL coaches with the same team.

The Sabres, who play at Toronto tonight, have not yet named a replacement. General manager Darcy Regier was scheduled to address reporters later in the day.

The news came as a surprise only because Sabres management, including team president Ted Black, had spent much of the past week voicing its support of Ruff. Team owner Terry Pegula was also regarded as a big fan of Ruff.

Pegula, however, was running out of options in his bid to turn the Sabres into a Stanley Cup contender, an objective he made clear upon purchasing the team two years ago. Ruff’s firing comes nearly two years to the day Pegula formally took over as the Sabres owner on Feb. 22, 2011.

Ruff was becoming increasingly aware that his job was on the line. Last week, he described the Sabres struggles as being “his mess,” while adding that he wasn’t done trying to clean it up.

Last Night’s Game

Flyers 6, Penguins 5

Pittsburgh — Jakub Voracek scored the go-ahead goal with 1:31 remaining in the third period to cap a hat trick and lead Philadelphia to a wild victory over Pittsburgh.

Voracek’s third goal came 33 seconds after Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter tied the game on a wraparound as the Penguins rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits in the third period.

Voracek’s first goal of the game came on the power play, giving the Flyers a 3-2 lead with 9.9 seconds left in the second period. His second, the 200th point of his NHL career, put Philadelphia ahead by two goals 18 seconds into the third period.

Wayne Simmonds had two goals and an assist and Nicklas Grossman also scored for the Flyers.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov overcame a shaky start for his eighth victory.

Evgeni Malkin and James Neal scored power-play goals, while Sutter, Tyler Kennedy and Matt Niskanen also scored for the Penguins.