Nashville at Buffalo

Bernier scores twice in debut to help Sabres slash Preds


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Steve Bernier can stop worrying. The pressure is off now that he made his Sabres debut memorable.

Bernier scored goals on his first two shots and added an assist in sparking an 8-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night, a day after being acquired in a deal that sent All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell to San Jose.

"When your confidence is not where you want it to be and the first shot you make you score, it helps," said Bernier, labeled an underachiever during three seasons with the Sharks. "I'm glad everything went the way I wanted everything to go. ... Yeah, it's a good start, but nothing is done yet."

Bernier snapped a 12-game goal drought, the longest of his NHL career, and enjoyed his fifth multigoal game.

Toni Lydman had a career high four assists, Ales Kotalik had a goal and two assists, and Derek Roy, Daniel Paille, Jason Pominville, Tim Connolly and Andrew Peters also scored as Buffalo snapped an 0-1-1 skid. Buffalo jumped into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of idle Philadelphia.

It was an important statement by a Sabres team that had the potential of unraveling after losing Campbell, a key player and team leader.

"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 of Bernier.

Jason Arnott scored twice for the Predators, 0-2-1 in their past three games, including a 6-3 loss to Dallas on Saturday. David Legwand and Jan Hlavac, making his debut after being acquired Tuesday in a trade with Tampa Bay, also scored for the Predators.

Nashville, which kicked off a season-high, six-game road swing, entered the game in eighth place in the West, but lost ground when San Jose and Minnesota -- both ahead of the Predators -- won.

"It's quite frustrating because the urgency has got to be there," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We blew a chance to get points. By the time we get home, we might be out of the playoffs. We might be ninth."

The Sabres broke the game open late in the second period when Pominville and Roy scored three minutes apart to put Buffalo up 6-3.

As blowouts go, it certainly proved entertaining, with Bernier's performance one of numerous highlights in a game between teams in different conferences.

It was a game in which all four goaltenders played; featured a seven-goal second period; had the Sabres nearly squander a three-goal lead for the second straight game; featured a chippy third period with numerous fights; and had a penalty shot. Nashville's Scott Nichol missed his second consecutive attempt this season.

The scariest moment came three minutes into the second period when Sabres goalie Ryan Miller was knocked woozy and had his nose bloodied after being struck in the mask by Marek Zidlicky's shot. The force of the drive knocked loose the main metal bar that runs from Miller's forehead to chin, and pushed it back on his nose.

With the tip of his nose swollen but not broken, Miller returned after missing about 8 minutes. He made 24 saves to preserve the victory.

"It was entertaining, no doubt," said Miller, who wasn't aware that Hlavac had converted the rebound.

Miller left with the Sabres up 3-1, and returned with Buffalo clinging to a 4-3 lead after backup Jocelyn Thibault allowed two goals on seven shots.

"Fortunately, we answered the call," said Miller, who had to wait for a new cage to be attached to his mask. "I was anxious to get back out there, just get the bleeding stopped and go."


  • Predators RW Brandon Bochenski, acquired from Anaheim on Tuesday, was scheduled to join the team at practice in Nashville on Thursday.
  • Roy extended his point streak to a career-best seven games (four goals, six assists).
  • Buffalo was the only city in which the 10-year-old Predators had never lost, going 3-0 with a tie in four previous visits.
Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
New Sabre Steve Bernier (two goals, assist) is pleased to see one of his shots make it into the Preds' net.  (AP)
New Sabre Steve Bernier (two goals, assist) is pleased to see one of his shots make it into the Preds' net. (AP)
Nashville (32-25-8)0314
Buffalo  (31-24-9) «2428
Three Stars
S. Bernier

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
D. Roy

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
A. Peters

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
04:33Steve Bernier (14), Tip-In. Assist: Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek
14:07Steve Bernier (15), Slap Shot. Assist: Toni Lydman, Thomas Vanek
02:01Daniel Paille (14), Snap Shot. Assist: Paul Gaustad, Toni Lydman
02:46Jan Hlavac (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Marek Zidlicky, Martin Erat
03:20Jason Arnott (23), Slap Shot. Assist: J.P. Dumont, Alexander Radulov
04:13Andrew Peters (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Patrick Kaleta, Adam Mair
07:53Power Play - Jason Arnott (24), Slap Shot. Assist: Marek Zidlicky, David Legwand
14:50Jason Pominville (19), Slap Shot. Assist: Ales Kotalik, Nolan Pratt
17:49Derek Roy (25), Tip-In. Assist: Steve Bernier, Toni Lydman
03:04Power Play - David Legwand (14), Tip-In. Assist: Ryan Suter, Marek Zidlicky
07:35Tim Connolly (6), Backhand Shot. Assist: Toni Lydman, Ales Kotalik
13:03Ales Kotalik (19), Slap Shot. Assist: Tim Connolly, Dmitri Kalinin
Penalty Summary
14:42Kalinin, 2 min, Hooking
17:57Nichol, 2 min, Boarding
18:56Roy, 2 min, Roughing
18:56Fiddler, 2 min, Roughing
19:12Hamhuis, 2 min, Hooking
07:33Kaleta, 2 min, Goaltender Interference
11:02Macarthur, 2 min, Hooking
19:19Paetsch, 4 min, High-Sticking
06:48Hordichuk, 5 min, Fighting
06:48Peters, 5 min, Fighting
06:49Tootoo, 5 min, Fighting
06:49Mair, 5 min, Fighting
10:22Lydman, 2 min, High-Sticking
14:04Fiddler, 2 min, Roughing
14:04Kaleta, 2 min, Roughing
14:04Kalinin, 2 min, Roughing
14:04Nichol, 2 min, Roughing
14:04Fiddler, 5 min, Elbowing
16:52Gaustad, 4 min, Roughing
16:52Nichol, 4 min, Roughing
18:49Tootoo, 2 min, Slashing
18:49Tootoo, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
Dan Ellis25:10113
Chris Mason34:50145
Ryan Miller51:44242
Jocelyn Thibault 8:1652
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Game Information
Attendance - 18690
Referees - Kelly Sutherland, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - Scott Cherrey, Mark Pare
Other Games
Tor 4 Final
Fla 3
Pho 0 Final
Chi 1
SJ 4 Final
Colu 2
Colo 3 Final
Van 2
Min 3 Final
TB 2