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Sharpen Up: November 1, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Buffalo will take advantage of one more practice day before heading out to Arizona later today. The Sabres have not had a game since Saturday so they should be well rested heading into tomorrow night's tilt against the Coyotes.

Here's what you need to know.

The Sabres are looking to use these practice days to fine-tune their habits, improve communication, and do things the right way. Sabres coach Phil Housley is drawing on the recent success of Sean McDermott's Buffalo Bills, who are 5-2 halfway through the NFL season.

Video: Sabres Now (10/31/17)

"What is the one thing that they've talked about [with] the Buffalo Bills?" Housley said. "It's their defense, right? That's what's changing things for them, it's creating turnovers and that's the point I'm getting at. 

"We have to take pride in that area. The games that we lose, the other team has more zone time … We have to take pride when we don't have the puck. The harder we work in that area, it'll just seem like we have the puck more."

Jourdon has more on that in yesterday's Ice Level Practice Report
Video: After Practice: HOUSLEY

Housley thought the Sabres did "everything but win" against the Sharks on Saturday. The two teams seemed evenly matched until the Sharks finally found a way to win late in the third period, with Logan Couture capitalizing on a mistake by the Sabres in their own zone with a top-shelf goal. 

Coincidentally, it's in this area that another comparison could be drawn to the team in Orchard Park. The Bills have simply found ways to win tight games as of late, be it Tre'Davious White's fumble recovery against Tampa Bay or LaSean McCoy's clock-eating drive against the Raiders.

Jason Pominville said he's talked to teammates about his time with the Minnesota Wild last season, when the team won a franchise-best 12 games in a row, and described it in a similar light.

"It's not because we were playing well, but we found ways to win no matter what," Pominville said. "Some nights we weren't at our best, we would get a bounce and find a way to win. Right now, when things aren't going our way, it seems to go the opposite. A breakdown happens and they end up scoring."

Pominville said that the confidence the Wild had during that streak stemmed from the team's practice habits.

"Everyone who's been on good teams will tell you that usually practice habits translate to games," he said. "We had good habits. We were finding ways to win, no matter what. It's weird the way it happens. You're down, you find a way to get back. You get a bounce or your goalie makes a save. A lot of thing happen that you find ways to win games. 

"But if you had asked our coaches after the streak, they even told us that there were some games that we should've lost and we found ways to win."


Yesterday's practice group

9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville
67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 23 Sam Reinhart - 95 Justin Bailey
26 Matt Moulson - 22 Johan Larsson - 17 Jordan Nolan (25 Seth Griffith)

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
19 Jake McCabe - 5 Matt Tennyson
41 Justin Falk - 93 Victor Antipin (27 Taylor Fedun)

40 Robin Lehner
31 Chad Johnson

Falk practiced with the team for the first time this regular season. He will travel with the team and could play tomorrow night.

November Flex Passes now available

A limited number of Sabres Flex Pass subscriptions are on sale for the month of November. 

Flex Pass is a ticket option that gives you access to Sabres home games (excluding blackout dates) for $89 per month. 

Purchasers of Flex Pass will receive a notification 24 hours before puck drop to claim a seat. If interested, go into the Sabres Flex Pass section of the My One Buffalo mobile app and follow the on-screen instructions to get your barcode. Scan your mobile barcode at entry to KeyBank Center and enjoy the game.

Your Flex Pass includes access to Sabres home games at KeyBank Center for the month purchased during the 2017-18 season excluding the following blackout dates (Remaining games: Nov. 24 against Edmonton, Dec. 1 against Pittsburgh, and March 17 against Chicago). Please note that the pass is not available for April so it does not include the April 4 game against Ottawa, and also does not include tickets to the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

Click here for more information.

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