Three-on-three overtime is in its third season, and it took Phil Housley just one game as an NHL head coach to experience it.
"I think it's great for hockey, obviously," Housley said Friday. "The fans love the open ice. The players love the open ice.
"I don't like it when we don't get a win out of it, but that's continuing to evolve."
The Sabres fell to 0-0-1 with a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal on Thursday. Buffalo took a methodical approach during overtime and tried to set up plays rather than get in a track meet. It resulted in more puck control.
The puck was in the Montreal zone for 2:25 of overtime, including 1:44 on the Sabres' sticks. It was in the Sabres' zone for 1:41, including 1:15 of possession time for Montreal. The other 55 seconds were spent in the neutral zone.
Buffalo had a 4-3 shot advantage.
"We had some good looks," Housley said in KeyBank Center. "We had some things that almost transpired into some scoring chances. I thought our guys were really smart about maintaining possession and not giving it up.
"We got ourselves into some dead zones where they were able to attack. I think we could have brought it back and just held possession because it's such a big part of three-on-three. But moving forward, we've had some success. We won a game in overtime in preseason. We had some really good looks last night without giving up too much, so I'm pretty happy about it."
Should the Sabres reach overtime again Saturday when they visit the New York Islanders, expect the marquee and fast skaters to partake. Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Nathan Beaulieu started the extra session, followed by Ryan O'Reilly, Kyle Okposo and Rasmus Ristolainen, and Sam Reinhart, Jason Pominville and Victor Antipin.
The first good sign for Marco Scandella was playing more than 21 minutes in the Sabres' opener. An even better one was practicing the next morning.
After taking maintenance days throughout training camp, Scandella was back on the ice Friday. It was an encouraging step in his return from offseason hip surgery.
"It's a great sign," the defenseman said. "We waited until I was 100 percent ready to play, so we didn't take any chances. I was very comfortable jumping into the game and battling. I didn't even think about my hip."
Scandella didn't play in any preseason games, but he seems ready to go for the regular season. He should be in the lineup Saturday.
"We just didn't want to have any setbacks, and I felt like the training staff here did a great job with managing the injury," he said. "I came back when I was absolutely ready and when we knew that it wouldn't inhibit me from making plays or making decisions."
The only player missing from practice was Zach Bogosian, though Housley said the defenseman skated on his own. Bogosian is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
"He's making progress, which is good to see," Housley said. "We've just got to be careful about it, but it's good to see that he's making progress and has skated two days in a row now."
The Sabres will make a change to their fourth line. Matt Moulson, who sat Thursday, practiced with Jacob Josefson and Johan Larsson in place of Jordan Nolan.
"He's going to fit right in," Housley said. "We're going to continue to make adjustments if we feel we need to make adjustments and give our guys the best chance to win.
"I think Matt is a true goal scorer. He can bury the puck, and he can bring that against his old team."
Nolan skated 12 minutes against the Canadiens, including 2:24 for a short-handed unit that was 4 for 4. He did it in front of a familiar face. His father, former Sabres coach Ted Nolan, flew in from Poland to watch the debut. Ted Nolan is coach of the Polish national team.