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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Sabres 3

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 2 1 0 4
Sabres 2 1 0 0 3
FLA - S. Matthias (1), G. Parros (1), P. Mueller (4), PP - B. Campbell (4)
BUF - T. Vanek (8), C. Hodgson (5), A. Sulzer (2)

BUFFALO, NY — Defenseman Brian Campbell scored on the power play with 10:33 remaining to cap Florida's three-goal rally and the Panthers beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Sunday.

Peter Mueller, George Parros and Shawn Matthias also scored for the Panthers, who won their first road game of the season and snapped a seven-game road winless drought (0-5-2) dating to last season. Florida rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win two straight since enduring a five-game skid..

"Right now we know we can come back. Early in the season we kind of lost faith in us and we didn't think we could come back. Now we know it's in our mind set that we can and if we can just play the way we can in spurts here over the last couple of games then we'll be alright.."

- Defenseman Brian Campbell to Fox Sports Florida.
1. Turnovers Cost Cats Goals: Florida had good jump to the beginning of the game but it was the Sabres who had a 3-1 lead early in the second period. That was because the opportunities the Sabres scored on, they capitalized off of Panthers turnovers. The first goal of the game came with all three Panthers forwards caught in the offensive zone. Buffalo came back off the turnover and Tomas Vanek scored on a rebound off the rush just 2:46 into the contest. Shawn Matthias would tie it less than six minutes later scoring off a face-off win by Jerred Smithso but Buffalo would retake the lead as the Panthers had a bad turnover. A bouncing puck got by Mike Weaver and Vanek pounced on it and set up Cody Hodgson, who was all alone in front, beat Jose Theodore in front. Later in the second period, the Panthers couldn't clear the puck and the first line of Buffalo had some pretty passes to set up defenseman Alexander Sulzer with a blast from the point for a 3-1 lead 3:49 into the second period.

2. Fighting Back: It started with some great saves from Theodore and you throw in some good fights before the offense got going with some goals on the rush in the second period. While both fights (Tyson Strachan and George Parros) came prior to the Sabres third goal of the game, the Panthers seemed to be inspired by them, especially Parros' scrap. One can't forget the saves that Theodore had to pull off, including a big one on Tyler Ennis on a Sabres breakaway with the Panthers trailing by a 3-1 score. Those instances, along with the Panthers determination helped start a comeback in the second. Inspired by his own fists, Parros went on the offensive and finished off a Stephen Weiss no look drop pass on the rush, bring the Panthers to within one 10:21 into the second. Then it was the streaking Peter Mueller along with a first from Drew Shore that tied the game late. Drew Shore shot the puck wide while entering the Buffalo zone. He raced in, collected the puck and shot it again. The puck went to the center of the ice where Mueller finished on the rebound for a goal in fourth straight games, scoring with 53.5 seconds.

3. Team Effort In Comeback Win: The Panthers continued their domination in the third period as they held the Sabres in check and play in the Buffalo zone for the majority of the period. Florida's defense would allow just four shots in the final 20 while posting 13 on Miller. In fact, the Sabres went most of the third without registering a shot on net. One of those Panthers shots came with the Cats on their first power play of the night. There, Brian Campbell pounced on a rebound to score into the open net. The defenseman came back to haunt his original team (spent 10 seasons in Buffalo), scoring with 9:27 gone. The visitors did an excellent job in keeping the Sabres top line and the rest off the score sheet in the third and were rewarded with the come-from-behind win, their second staright comeback win in a row.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@hannah_stephenz: #NothingFeelsBetterThan The @FlaPanthers winning

@MissConduct24: The Super Bowl is going to be really boring after that @FlaPanthers game.

@xcrunbeard: Woooooo!! Get that W! @FlaPanthers @finoglebc06

@OneYearDynasty: Cats win topped with a sack full of knuckles from "The Stache", thats a great superbowl appetizer @goldieonice @FlaPanthers @GeorgeParros

@DeezyGramz561: @FlaPanthers these last two come from behind victories could be season changers when we look bak at seasons end!

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Ari Mendelsohn: Griffin Weber: Kopecky is hero of the game, in my opinion. two assists and huge shot block for the clear at the end.

Agustin Alexis Rosado: what a win!! good job let go Panthers

Andy Amstutz: Huge character win right there!

Paolo Torres: much needed win and a gutsy one at that

James Martin: Comeback Cats! Can't ask for much more than that!

1. A lot of firsts on Super Sunday. Jerred Smithson (first point) set up Shawn Matthias (first goal) to get the Cats on the board. Then in the second, George Parros recorded his first fight in a Panther uniform and then later his first goal. Finally, after so many opportunities, Drew Shore picked up his first NHL point, setting up Peter Mueller to tie the game at three.

3. Despite the chances, the Panthers found themselves on the wrong side of a 3-1 score early in the second. That didn't deter them as they scored the game's final three goals, including Brian Campbell's second game-winner of the year with a power play tally in the third.

4. Buffalo had 10 shots in the opening period. The Panthers defense clamped down from there, allowing six in the second and a season low four in the final 20...For a Panthers offensive initiative, Mueller continues his hot play of late, scoring in his fourth straight game. That total sets a new career high for the new Cat as he had recorded goals in three straight twice before this current streak.

5. The Panthers had great jump from their bottom two lines as the bottom six combined for half (five; 2-3-5) of the team's total points as four of the skaters collected points. That was led by forward Tomas Kopecky who picked up two assists on the night.

800. Defenseman Filip Kuba skated in his 800th NHL game when he took to the ice. He became the 65th player among active skaters to record that feat. Ironically, Kuba made his NHL debut in Buffalo, on April 9, 1999.

Tomas Kopecky
A tough decision but set up Shore on the rush for the eventual equalizer and then created havoc in front of the net that led to the game-winner by Campbell.

 2 Assists, 2 Points, 5 Shots, 17:27 TOI
Florida continues their four-game road trip as they travel west to take on the Jets in Winnipeg on Tuesday. Winnipeg will be looking for revenge after giving up five goals in the third period in a 6-3 loss in Sunrise last Thursday. The Jets followed up their loss to the Panthers with an 8-3 loss in Tampa. Winnipeg, who have not played since that loss on Friday, is led offensively by defenseman Tobias Enstrom (2-9-11 in eight games).

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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