Steve Bernier wasted no time making himself at home with the Buffalo Sabres.
Bernier will look to build on a strong debut when Buffalo hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night.
Bernier was acquired at Tuesday's trade deadline in a deal that sent two-time All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell to San Jose. Bernier played his first game with his new team on Wednesday, scoring on his first two shots and adding an assist in an 8-4 home win over Nashville.
"To have a player step in and have as good night first night, it's almost a dream come true," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.
Bernier's fifth career multigoal game ended a career-worst 12-game goal-scoring drought. Bernier's impressive debut gives him 15 goals in 2007-08, matching the career high he set last season with the Sharks.
"When your confidence is not where you want it to be and the first shot you make you score, it helps," he said. "I'm glad everything went the way I wanted everything to go. ... Yeah, it's a good start, but nothing is done yet."
Now in his third season, Bernier - a Quebec native - will be facing the Canadiens for the first time.
Toni Lydman chipped in a career-high four assists for the Sabres, 3-1-1 over their last five. Derek Roy had a goal and an assist, giving him four goals and six assists during a career-best seven-game points streak.
Buffalo (31-24-9) got a scare when All-Star goaltender Ryan Miller suffered a bloody nose after being hit in the mask with a shot. He left for about eight minutes - during which time Jocelyn Thibault allowed two goals on seven shots - before returning.
"It was entertaining, no doubt," said Miller, 10-3-2 with a 2.29 goals-against average in 15 career starts against the Canadiens.
Right wing Drew Stafford, who has not played since Feb. 8 because of a sprained right ankle, and Maxim Afinogenov, out since Jan. 1 because of a groin injury, were both cleared to play and participated in practice Tuesday.
|Buffalo Sabres right wing Steve Bernier (56) notched two goals and one assist in his first game with the Sabres on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
The Sabres have won three straight against Montreal (34-21-9), outscoring the Canadiens 11-3.
However, Montreal has won four of six, including Tuesday's 5-1 victory over Atlanta. Chris Higgins, the subject of trade rumors as this week's deadline approached, stayed put and had two goals and an assist.
"I think everyone likes the team we have in this locker room," Higgins said. "Obviously, we would have liked to add someone big but we're pretty confident with the team we have."
In a surprising deal, the Canadiens sent goalie Cristobal Huet to Washington for a 2009 draft pick, leaving 20-year-old rookie Carey Price as the No. 1 netminder. Price stopped 26 shots in his first game in the new role.
"It just means I'm going to be playing more," Price said. "You can't overburden yourself with the pressure. I thought it was going to happen eventually and it just happened sooner than I expected."
Price yielded three goals and made 28 saves in his only previous start against the Sabres, a 4-2 loss on Nov. 23 in Buffalo.
With a win, Montreal will overtake Ottawa and move atop the Northeast Division and in second place in the Eastern Conference.