Campbell lifts Panthers to 4-3 win over Sabres
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 remaining.
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 slot.