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Sabres Visit Bizarro World

by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
It was role reversal night at HSBC Arena on Tuesday.

Buffalo's 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers had so many players acting out of character that it could have made the "bizarro" episode of Seinfeld. Brian Campbell dropped the gloves to open the game, while Andrew Peters beat an opposing netminder for the first time in over two years as the Sabres defeated the Flyers for the third time.

"I thought what [Campbell] did was unbelievable," said Peters, who dropped the gloves with Todd Fedoruk two minutes later. "[RJ] Umberger obviously had a problem with him after the hit last year, and the way Soupy handled himself, I think every guy in this room is proud."

Campbell was poked and prodded into his first NHL fight by Umberger, who was seeking retribution for decimating open-ice check the defenseman laid on him during last season's playoffs.

The scrap set the tone of the game and showed Buffalo's willingness to play a gritty style if necessary.

"That's a tough job," said Peters. "Believe me, I know what it's like. The way he handled himself and defended himself out there, he deserves a huge pat on the back. He really sparked our team and that's why we won tonight."

"I don't know if we need to get out of hand here," joked the modest Campbell about his fight's significance in the game. "It's just nice to have that over with and move on.

"It had gone on too long and was getting kind of annoying. That's what he wanted, so I tried."

Dwarfed by the six-foot-two, 200-pound center, Campbell held his own.

"I had never been so excited in my life to see [Campbell fight]," said Peters. "It's totally out of character for him."

Peters added some excitement of his own with eight minutes remaining in the period.

The third goal of his career, which came 187 games after the last time the Sabres enforcer had been able to celebrate for the first time this season.

With the score tied 1-1, Peters fought his way to the front of the net, kicked Nathan Paetsch's rebound to his stick and slipping the puck past Robert Esche at 12:03.

Pandemonium ensued.

"I don't remember anything," joked native of nearby St. Catharines, Ont., who scored his last goal with an empty net on March 26, 2004 against Pittsburgh. "I blacked out."

Buffalo also received goals by Derek Roy, Daniel Briere and Chris Drury on the power play, which finished the game 3-5 and is now 6-13 in its last two games.

Briere tallied his 27th of the season with a great redirect on a Paetsch slapshot, Roy fired a one-timer through traffic for his 10th and Drury recorded his team-high 32nd of the season with a one-timer at pointblank range.

Adam Mair scored his first since Nov. 13 at Carolina - breaking a 42-game drought - after deflecting Campbell's slapshot from the point at 1:45 of the second.

"Some of our role players did a great job tonight," said Ruff. "Peters and Mair scoring, and I thought our young guys played really well."

Rookie call-up Clarke MacArthur, who was appearing in his fourth NHL game - registered his first career assist on Peters' goal.

Add Daniel Paille's name to the cursed on the Sabres lineup and mark Tuesday as the fifth straight contest that Buffalo has lost a player during. With five minutes remaining in the final frame, Paille was slashed along the boards and suffered a broken finger. He will be sidelined for a couple of weeks.

"I actually laughed tonight," said Ruff of his reaction to the injury. "What can you do? The doctors said it may be two or three weeks. I said, that's just a short one for us."

Paille joins Maxim Afinogenov, Tim Connolly, Paul Gaustad, Ales Kotalik, Jiri Novotny and Jaroslav Spacek on the sidelines.

"I told [Rochester Americans head coach] Randy [Cunneyworth], we don't need you anymore, I'm coaching both teams now," joked Ruff of Buffalo's potential fifth call-up from Rochester since Jan. 25. "I've got all his team here. He's running out of personnel."
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