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Scandella determined to help make Sabres a consistent winner

All Marco Scandella could do was laugh. It said more than words could.

Because there were no words available to describe how much better he felt after Buffalo's victory Saturday than he did after Friday's beatdown.

"It was a complete 180," Scandella said Monday. "Completely different."

He intends to do his part to keep it that way.

Scandella delivered the spot-on quote of the season following the 4-2 loss to Vancouver. He said the Sabres "need more pride in this dressing room," a telling admission from someone who just arrived during the summer.

Buffalo won less than 24 hours later, a 5-4 comeback victory in Boston. Jack Eichel loudly praised Scandella in the visitors' room, and it was deserved.

The defenseman assisted on Eichel's goal that started the rally from a 4-1 deficit. Scandella took a team-high six shots while skating 27:23, the fourth-highest total of his eight-year career and most since he skated 27:26 for Minnesota on Dec. 31, 2014.

He and the Sabres will look to continue their efforts Tuesday when Detroit visits KeyBank Center in a 7:30 p.m. start.

"We just have to understand what happened last game," Scandella said. "It's a turning point for us to just start playing the right way, keeping possession. We just went after them, and we just have to do that from the drop of the puck next game."

Sluggishness has cost the Sabres, especially at home. They didn't show up for the loss to Vancouver, and they were in a 6-1 hole after two periods against New Jersey.

Including the preseason, Buffalo is 0-4-2 in front of the home fans. The players are aware.

"We have to come back and have a great game at home," Scandella said. "We haven't had a great game at home yet and haven't gotten to win at home yet, so I feel like there's got to be a lot of pride in this dressing room to go get a win for our fans."

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The win in Boston proved the team can play. The 2-5-2 record proves they don't do it consistently.

There was going to be an on-ice learning curve with new coaches and significant roster turnover, but the off-ice teaching has been even more pronounced.

"You have to keep reminding them what it's going to take to win," coach Phil Housley said. "It's just playing the right way and getting prepared to play. Those are the areas that we have to continue to focus on and preach.

"It's hard to win in this league. You have to geared up and get yourself ready at the start of the game to play a full 60 minutes, not keep chasing games and put ourselves in position in that area. We're going to continue to focus on that."

It's not a stretch to think players let bad habits slide through without giving it a second thought. The ones who've grown up in the organization know nothing but losing.

Scandella and the Wild made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons. He declined to comment on what the Sabres are doing wrong comparatively, but he emphatically pounced on the opportunity to make things right.

"You know what? I don't want to think about the past in Minnesota," Scandella said. "I'm here, and I'm just going to be a positive guy every day. Everyone's having fun here. We're playing hockey for a living, so how can you not smile when you come to the rink?

"We've just got to come here with a good attitude, be ready to work. Everything I can do to help guys, I'm going to do everything I can, try to be a leader out there.

"I believe in this group. I feel like we have a lot of great players here. We're building something. We weren't expecting it to happen overnight. It's a process. We just have to build off last game. One day a time, we've just got to keep getting better."

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