Page last updated on Sun Dec 21 23:10:15 EST 2014
02/03/2013 7:13 PM EST
Campbell lifts Panthers to 4-3 win over Sabres

AP Sports Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell
is learning to like getting booed in Buffalo.

"When they boo you, it means they miss you, I think," Campbell
said after playing a key role in rallying the Panthers to a 4-3
win over the Sabres on Sunday.

The one-time Sabres star, who spent his first eight NHL seasons
playing for Buffalo, capped the Panthers' three-goal surge by
scoring the decisive goal on the power play with 10:33

Pinching in from the left point, Campbell was in a perfect
position to snap in a loose puck into the open side after Sabres
goalie Ryan Miller stopped Tomas Kopecky in front.

"I don't play very good here a lot of times, I find," said
Campbell, whose goal against Buffalo was his first in seven
games since the Sabres traded him to San Jose during the 2007-08
season. "To score a game-winner is great in this building. A lot
of good times here."

And it made for a special homecoming for Campbell, who was
picked by the Panthers players to organize the team's postgame
Super Bowl party to be held at a Buffalo restaurant.

"Yeah, this will be a little bit better than sitting there and
sulking," Campbell said.

The Panthers have plenty to feel good about in winning two
straight for the first time this season. They avoided opening a
season losing four straight on the road for the first time in
team history, and also ended a seven-game road winless drought
(0-5-2) dating to last season.

Peter Mueller, George Parros and Shawn Matthias also scored for
the Panthers (3-5-0).

The mood was much different in the Sabres locker room for a team
that's gone 1-5-1 since opening the season 2-0.

"It's tough. It's a team we had right where we wanted them, 3-1,
and a lot of chances to make it 4-1," Thomas Vanek said. "And we
give away 2 points."

Vanek and Cody Hodgson had a goal and two assists each, and
Alexander Sulzer also scored for Buffalo. For Vanek, he
continued his prolific start to the season in taking over the
NHL lead with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists).

The trouble is the Sabres aren't getting production from anyone
else, which cost them against the Panthers.

Shortly after Sulzer scored to make it 3-1, second-line center
Tyler Ennis was stopped by Jose Theodore on a breakaway. Then
third-line center Mikhail Grigorenko and second-line winger
Marcus Foligno both missed the net after being set up in the

The Panthers responded with Parros and Mueller scoring to tie
the game before the second period was over.

Buffalo, playing its third game in four days, ran out of steam
in being outscored 3-0 and outshot 18-5 over the final 30
minutes. The Sabres were outshot 33-20 overall, and 13-4 in the
third period when the team didn't get its first shot on net
until Jochen Hecht slapped a shot on from the right boards with
8:11 remaining.

Vanek refused to use the team's lack of rest as an excuse.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "Going into the third, no one
wanted to make the mistake, and we kind of didn't do much

The Panthers are finally starting to find their offense, having
combined for 10 goals in two games after managing just five in
their previous five.

It helps that the Panthers are suddenly getting healthier.

Two games after forward Kris Versteeg returned to the lineup,
the Panthers got first-line center Stephen Weiss back on Sunday.
Weiss, who missed four games with a lower-body injury, had an
assist in setting up Parros' goal.

"We're building character," Weiss said. "We've strung a couple
of wins together, which was nice. But as a team, we're now 3-5."

Campbell is starting to see a difference in a team that had lost
five in a row after opening the season with a win.

"We battled. We're starting to come as a team a bit more now and
have faith in coming back," Campbell said. "Earlier in the
season, we didn't have a whole lot of faith and confidence. But
now we're starting to see our team develop."

Notes: Vanek has a point in the eight games he's played after
missing one because of a muscle spasm. He's now had a hand in
six of Buffalo's past seven goals over a six-period stretch,
dating to the third period of a 7-4 win at Boston on Thursday.
... The Panthers opened a four-game road trip without D Ed
Jovanovski and LW Scottie Upshall, who are both out with
lower-body injuries. ... Parros' goal was the Panthers'
tough-guy's first point in nearly a calendar year, dating to a
goal he scored at Detroit last Feb. 10.

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