The Sabres face the Islanders in their home opener

October 7, 2017
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New York, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres are in Brooklyn for the Islanders home opener and New York should be in ill humor. The Iles got pasted in Columbus last night 5-0.

Buffalo got one point in its opener losing to Montreal 3-2 in a shootout. The game was a totally different style and quite entertaining, but Buffalo blew a third period 2-1 lead and lost. A complete breakdown from the five man power play unit to goalie Robin Lehner allowed the Canadiens to tie the game on a shorthanded goal.

Jason Pominville came home and scored both Buffalo goals. Carey Price had to make 43 saves and pretty much stole a game for his team.

Marco Scandella never got into a preseason game, but he played 21:11 including 4:49 on the penalty kill. Only Rasmus Ristolainen and Nate Beaulieu played more than the new Sabre.

Scandella could only practice with his new teammates and he really enjoyed getting his first game in, “It had been awhile, I was super excited to get into a game. Just practicing all of training camp was just becoming the same thing and I was just pumped to get back in there.”

The fact that he could put in over 21 minutes showed why the Sabres have been careful with him, “It’s a great sign. We waited until I was 100 percent ready to play, we didn’t take any chances, so I didn’t even think about my hip.”

As you know by now, Phil Housley has installed a different system, but it wasn't that foreign to Scandella, “I felt like I had practiced enough where I knew what I was doing on the ice.”

“It’s not like we’re playing that much of a different system, so there were just a few minor adjustments, so I was very comfortable.”

Buffalo did kill off all the penalties it took and Scandella was usually paired with Jake McCabe on the kill, “I thought as a group we did a great job, we pressured at the right time, we all knew where to be positionally, so it made it easy.”

The Sabres aren’t going to have 45 shots every game. They shot at almost every opportunity which led to a lot of bad shots. Housley said, “It was a great step in the right direction as far as our shot mentality, but I thought there were a lot of times that Carey Price saw the puck too much and we’ve addressed that and worked on other options."

“Moving forward we’ve got to continue to shoot, but we’ve got to create a second and third opportunity off that shot.”

Lehner had to make 38 saves on the game and Housley said it doesn’t have to be that way, “We gave up way too many chances against and that was a result of a couple of things, our puck management through the neutral zone and just our coverage coming back into our zone.”

“Those things we can sort out, those things we can control, so moving forward, we have to play better without the puck, but certainly having that mindset of an attacking style.”

Housley is going to make one change in his lineup. Matt Moulson will go to right wing for Jordan Nolan. Housley said, “He’s going to fit right in. We’re going to continue to make adjustments to give our team the best chance to win. I think Matt is a true goal scorer, he can bury the puck and hopefully he can bring that tonight against his old team.”

Zach Bogosian is still not practicing and Josh Gorges will be scratched on defense.

In the Blue Jackets game, the Islanders depended on Nick Leddy a lot. The defenseman logged 21:35 of ice-time and he didn’t even play on their penalty kill.

Both John Tavares and Anders Lee had four shots, but both were on the ice for two of the five Columbus goals.

New York has one new player to watch in Mathew Barzal. The 20-year-old was the 16th overall pick in 2015 and had 69 assists and 79 points in 41 games with Seattle last year.

Both Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak played in goal. Greiss gave up five goals and made 21 saves in 31:29 of work. Halak stopped all 11 shots he saw in 24:10.

Join Brian Koziol for the pregame at 6:00 when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella.