Share this article

print logo

Sabres' power play is scuffling, so Housley shakes things up

After the Sabres completed practice, Phil Housley and associate coach Davis Payne gathered the first power-play unit at the whiteboard. They had a lot to go over.

The Sabres boasted the top power play in the NHL last season, but they're scuffling along at No. 22 this year. Housley switched the units Monday, and he wants more when Detroit visits Tuesday.

"Better, quick puck movement," Housley said in KeyBank Center. "We're holding onto it, which is giving other teams on the penalty kill an opportunity to get in position. We have to move the puck quicker whether it's low to high or it's high to low. It's got to be done quicker.

"We have to have more urgency in that area because we hold onto it, they get a stick on it, now they get two guys, now we're in a battle. We shouldn't be in that position if we just move it quickly. That’s what we were focusing on."

Buffalo is 5 for 32 on the power play, including a 3-for-5 performance in Vegas. The unit has been blanked in five of the last six games. The Sabres have also given up six short-handed goals.

The new units feature two defensemen, a change from the four-forward, one-defenseman look. Ryan O'Reilly, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart skated up front on the top power play, with Victor Antipin and Rasmus Ristolainen at the blue line. The second unit was Evander Kane, Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo, with Marco Scandella and Matt Tennyson up top.

Antipin has played in two straight games after being scratched for four.

"He's made the best of his opportunity since he's got back in the lineup," Housley said. "He's moving his feet, skating, defending well — all the things that we're looking for from him.

"He's just sort of moving up and earned a spot to try on the power play."

Benched during weekend, Sabres' Okposo returns to top line

Story topics:

There are no comments - be the first to comment