Housley makes changes to the power play

November 27, 2017
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres power play has been in a season long slump and is 30th in the National Hockey League. Buffalo is running at 13.3-percent. Last season, they had the top ranked power play and were at 24.5-percent.

Phil Housley once again changed the units on Monday going with:

 

Unit 1: Kane - Eichel - Reinhart / Antipin - Beaulieu

Unit 2: Okposo - O’Reilly - Moulson / Ristolainen - Pominville

 

Last season, Matt Moulson had eleven goals and seven assists for 18 points on the power play. This season, he hasn’t even been on the power play and has sat out 12 of the 24 games.

Moulson has made a career out of producing on the PP. “I’ve played on good power plays,” Moulson said with a laugh. “I think just being around the net, anticipating when shots or chances are going to come around the net. And obviously get into the goalie’s way and pick up some rebounds. I think that’s where most of my success has been as well as little plays around the net.”

Housley said much of Moulson’s past success dealt with net-front presence, “I think he’s a good distributor, he sees plays pretty well, he knows the next play, he has a knack of tipping pucks.”

It seems like the power play is set-up differently under Housley, but Moulson disagrees, “I don’t think it’s much different, no.”

Ryan O’Reilly added, “It’s not, it’s not that different. What worked for us last year, isn’t working for us this year.”

“You have to reinvent yourself every year. We’re not consistent enough in games where we’re getting good looks and then we just lose sight of what we should be doing and we dig ourselves into a bit of a hole.”

Two of the biggest problems have been entries and missing the net on shots. O’Reilly said entries have to improve, “It starts with speed together, get it in deep and outwork them from there, so it’s not a complicated thing, it’s simple, plus I’ve been struggling in those power play faceoffs. The last few games I’ve been winning a lot and that gets us possession right away, so I have to do a better job with that.”

Confidence is a big thing in hockey and right now, very few of the Sabres have it. Confidence is also a word you can use for the power play, “We’re not getting the result and scoring so we’re not as confident as we were last year," O'Reilly said.

“Last year we stepped on the ice and felt OK, we’re going to score. This year, we’re overthinking it, trying to do too much, it’s just not there.”

Zach Bogosian will be a game-time decision for Tuesday. Housley said he wanted to see how Bogosian got through Monday’s practice.

There is room on the roster because Jacob Josefson tweaked his ankle and is out 4-to-6 weeks. He will go to injured reserve.

Buffalo also has a roster spot because Seth Griffith has cleared waivers and been sent to Rochester. Housley said they’ll decide on Tuesday if there will be a call-up from Rochester. It won’t be Justin Bailey as he’s out with a lower-body injury.
 

Monday’s lines:

Kane - Eichel - Reinhart

Pouliot - O’Reilly - Okposo

Nolan - Larsson - Pominville

Girgensons - Criscuolo - Moulson

 

Scandella - Ristolainen

McCabe - Antipin

Falk - Beaulieu

Gorges - Bogosian