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Higgins scores twice in Panthers' win over Sabres

Jason Garrison snapped a third-period tie, and Chris Higgins scored twice to help the Florida Panthers beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 on Thursday night.

The Panthers blew a three-goal, first-period lead, but hung on to win for the third time in four games.

Stephen Weiss had a goal and assist, and Tomas Vokoun finished with 45 saves for Florida, playing its third game in the past four nights.

Jordan Leopold scored twice, and Jason Pominville had a goal and assist for the Sabres, who've dropped three of their last four — including two to the Panthers over the last six days.

Ryan Miller, making his 12th straight start, made 25 saves, but was denied in his bid to become the 67th goalie in NHL history to win 200 games.

Garrison gave the Panthers the lead with 5:07 left in regulation when his wrist shot from the right circle slipped past Miller while the teams were playing with four skaters each.

The Sabres lost leading scorer Derek Roy just 7 minutes into the game after he was driven into the boards by Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov while carrying the puck into the Panthers' zone. Roy skated off while favoring his left leg, and went directly to the locker room.

Down 3-0 after the first period, the Sabres tied it with three consecutive goals in the first 12 minutes of the second period.

Leopold scored Buffalo's first goal at 5:44 of the second with a shot from the top of the left circle that trickled past Vokoun.

Pominville made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 8:15, wristing a shot in from the right faceoff dot.

Leopold then tied it with his second of the period and ninth of the season, splitting the Florida defense at the blue line before putting a wrist shot past Vokoun from the slot 4:06 later.

Higgins gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead just 1:10 into the game, batting home a rebound out of the air after Miller blocked the original shot by Evgeny Dadonov. The goal was upheld after a brief video review confirmed Higgins didn't high-stick the puck in.

Weiss pushed Florida's lead to 2-0 at 12:10 of the opening period while the Panthers enjoyed a two-man advantage. From the right circle he completed a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play that also involved Michael Frolik and Bryan McCabe.

Florida made it 3-0 when Higgins notched his second of the game 1:43 later, depositing a backhander in from the lower-right circle.

NOTES: Leopold became the first Sabres defenseman since Phil Housley in 1989-90 to score nine goals before Jan. 1. Housley had 10 before the New Year, and finished with 21 that season. ... The Panthers have outscored the Sabres by a combined 7-0 in the first period of both of the meetings between the two teams this season. ... Higgins snapped his 13-game goal drought. ... Buffalo's 20 second-period shots tied a season high. The Sabres also had 20 shots in the third period against Ottawa on Oct. 22.