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NOTEBOOK: BERNIER MAKES THE RIGHT IMPRESSION

Wednesday, 02.27.2008 / 11:12 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
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NOTEBOOK: BERNIER MAKES THE RIGHT IMPRESSION
Steve Bernier (photo: Bill Wippert)
Acquired by the Buffalo Sabres in a trade that sent popular defenseman Brian Campbell to the San Jose Sharks, Steve Bernier was worried about making a good first impression on the Sabres fans and his teammates. 

He need worry no more.

The 22 year old made a splash in his Buffalo debut by registering two goals, an assist and defending linemate Derek Roy in a raucous 8-4 victory over the Nashville Predators.

While his points were very important to the Sabres win, it was Bernier's immediate action on Jordin Tootoo that made the biggest impression.  Unselfishly defending a another teammate is one of the unspoken musts of the game of hockey.
 
"A cheap shot from a fourth-line player, he comes in and does a good job," said Roy.  "That's what we have to do.  It doesn't matter who gets hit or who's involved in the melee, everyone backs each other up.

"I don't think so," said Roy when asked if Bernier could have made a better impression.  "He seems very vocal on the bench, he's an intense fellow, and he likes to go out and work hard.  It seemed like he really wanted to win out there which is exactly what we need."

Enforcer Andrew Peters was not just appreciate the youngster's on-ice performance.

"He made an impression with the way he carried himself today in the locker room and how he handled himself around a new group of guys," said Peters regarding the media circus that immersed the right winger.  "You can just see that he's a great guy and great personality.

"It's everything you want in a teammate."

Bernier finished the game with more than 15 minutes of ice time - four of which came on the power play - and was a plus-three.  His three points set a new career high.

"It was a wonderful day when I work up this morning," said Bernier.  "It took a long time for the game to start.  All day I was thinking about the game.  I couldn't sleep last night or today.  Everything went well and I'm just glad that things went the way I wanted."

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Ryan Miller left the Sabres crease three minutes into the second period after being struck by a Marek Zidlicky slapshot in the face.  The Sabres top netminder sustained a bloody nose when the blast broke the welds on his cage, driving the steel mesh into his face. 

"[My nose] was just a little numb and was obviously bleeding," said Miller, who was unaware that Nashville had scored to climb within a goal until he was in the dressing room.  "I got off [the ice] and they put the powder that stops [the bleeding] and jammed a couple cotton swabs up there for a while.

"About the time they were done fixing the mask, I was able to check everything out.  It felt clear enough to play."

Miller returned to the Sabres bench midway through the period but was forced to wait more a minute  before a stoppage of play allowed him to reclaim the Sabres cage from Jocelyn Thibault.

"That play, if it hits me anyplace else, I can recover for a rebound," Miller continued.  "It took me out of the play and deflected a strange way.  I was a little frustrated that I had to leave on a goal and that being such a tight game.

"But we stepped up and got contributions from everyone."

Miller 24-of-26 shots that he faced to claim his 29th victory of the season.

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The Andrew Peters show returned for its once or twice showing at HSBC Arena per season on Wednesday night.  Peters scored his first goal of 2007-08 by one timing Patrick Kaleta's pass from behind the net five hole on Chris Mason at 4:13 of the second period. 

The marker snapped a 56-game drought and raised Peters' career total to four in 169 games. 

"Was that how many it was? See 56, Bernier is number 56 ... it was all meant to be," joked Peters about breaking the streak. 

Peters' goals are always moments to be watched with his celebrations taking on a life and legend of their own.  Number four all-time was a simple display.  Arms raised, stare fixed on the netminder, Peters' red-light ceremony "lasted nearly 20 seconds," according to Roy.

"I don't know the next time the arms are going to be up so I decided to leave them up there for a little while," he laughed.  "It was just the first thing that came to my mind.

"I can remember all my celebrations, if you know what I mean."

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