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Anderson makes 45 saves, leads Panthers to victory over Sabres @NHLdotcom

SUNRISE, Fla. - Craig Anderson was quick to credit his Florida teammates after another strong performance in place of former all-star Tomas Vokoun.

Anderson made 45 saves, and Gregory Campbell and Keith Ballard scored 35 seconds apart in the second period in the Panthers' 2-1 victory over Buffalo on Thursday night.

"It was just one of those nights where they were just throwing everything at the net, Anderson said. "Our guys did a terrific job of cleaning up a lot of the rebounds that I was giving out."

Campbell scored for the third consecutive game and also had an assist for the Panthers. Florida has won three in a row and is 4-0-2 in its last six.

"I just keep doing what I do," Campbell said. "I've said it time and time again, my job is not to go out there and score 50 goals, but to be responsible and bring the team energy. Players go through stretches that things go their way. I'm not complaining right now."

Ales Kotalik scored for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost eight of their last 10 and have scored only 19 goals during their slide.

"We've got to get through it," Kotalik said. "This is a really good hockey team in my eyes and a strong enough group to figure out what to do and how to be a better team night in and night out."

Ryan Miller made 23 saves for Buffalo, which outshot Florida 46-25.

Anderson, a backup making his fourth consecutive start in net because of his strong play, came within eight minutes of his third shutout of the season.

"He was great, especially when we needed him the most, and gave us the chance to win against a very good team," Florida coach Pete DeBoer said. "That's the type of effort we need in the net every night."

Campbell opened the scoring at 15:42 of the second after coming off the bench to join a Florida rush. He took a pass from Michael Frolik on the wing and beat Miller, who couldn't get over in time.

"You've got to get saves there. You've got to get some saves," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "When we're pushing hard, you're going to need a big save. ... I thought it was an easy play for Ryan to read. I thought it was an easy play to get over. If we're going to gamble and get our defence that involved, that's the other side of it."

Ballard scored on a 2-on-1 rush with Campbell at 16:17, firing a wrist shot that beat Miller to the glove side.

"To come out in the second and to get a couple of goals, for us, is a big confidence builder," DeBoer said. "Obviously, with the offence we have out, scoring goals is at a premium."

Kotalik cut the lead in half at 11:19 of the third. He scored 10 seconds into a 5-on-3 power play with a one-timer from the high slot that beat Anderson through traffic.

"Their goalie was really good, but we had our chances to put the game away," Kotalik said. "They had two rushes in one minute and there you go, we're down 2-0. I'd rather be the worst team for 59 minutes and end up winning the game."

Notes: Sabres D Craig Rivet missed his second consecutive game because of an upper-body injury. ... Buffalo D Toni Lydman played after missing practice Tuesday. He was injured while blocking a shot Monday night in a loss to Nashville. ... Florida D Noah Welch was assigned to Rochester of the AHL on a two-week conditioning stint. ... With an assist on Campbell s goal, Florida D Jay Bouwmeester extended his points streak to five games.

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