Drew Stafford admitted he was a little nervous coming in to play the Edmonton Oilers for the first time in his career.
But it didn't take him long to get the jitters out of his system.
The nephew of Oilers' equipment manager Barrie Stafford scored 10 seconds after the opening faceoff, then potted two more goals in the third period as the Sabres waltzed to a 10-2 win at Rexall Place last night.
"It was good for us coming off the (all-star) break; the puck seemed to be going our way all the time," Stafford said after notching the second hat trick of his career.
"It's almost surreal for me to get the hat trick here. I had a lot of friends here and with my uncle, I'm just glad we got the win."
Stafford, 23, was the Sabres first pick (13th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
After the game, he was holding a stuffed pigeon, representing the Sabres' player of the game.
"I was kind of nervous at first, and when I scored I didn't look over at the (Oilers) bench at all," Stafford said.
"But it did make things a little easier, especially with all the hype coming into this game."
Born in Milwaukee, Stafford moved to St. Albert for a year and played midget hockey in Edmonton.
He then went to the University of North Dakota before splitting his time between the Rochester Americans and the Sabres in 2006-07.
Last season, Stafford had 16 goals and 22 assists in 64 games with Buffalo.
Heading into last night, he had nine goals and 18 assists in 44 games.
"He played really well," said Barrie Stafford. "The puck was following him around. But it's tough to take on our end. On the one hand we're happy for him, but for the family it's tough because everyone is an Oilers fan."