Housley: 'We're right where we should be'

October 30, 2018 - 2:18 pm

There has been a change in the way this Buffalo Sabres team has played in just 11 games this season compared to the past several years.

Over the past few games, the Sabres have faced a tough task while trailing heading into the later stages of a game. Instead of crawling into a hole and playing like a team that had no drive to get back into a hockey game, the Sabres have fought back to tie the hockey game, and have gone 2-0-1 in the last three games while facing those circumstances.

On Tuesday, the Sabres welcome the Calgary Flames to KeyBank Center with the chance to close out the month of October with a 7-4-1 record, which would be the team's best start to a season, and best month of October, since the 2009-10 season.

Head coach Phil Housley joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White on Tuesday morning for his weekly appearance on WGR. The second-year head coach has been very pleased with his team's performance through the start of the season, and is happy with his team's confidence moving forward.

Here is some of what he had to say:


Housley on his team's play through the month of October:

"We're right where we should be with the way we've played this month. We're gonna round out October with Calgary tonight, but we had that tough five-game road trip going out west. I thought we did a good job going 3-2, and that was going to be a big indicator for me [with] where we would be as far as this month of October because there was some very good teams that we've had to play. I think our play at home as been very solid except for a couple of games where we got away from who we are and how we play. Overall, I'm pretty happy with where we're at, but it'd be great to win this game tonight."

Housley on the team's play in the last four games:

"Those two losses on the west coast [trip] against Vegas and San Jose were not indicative of the way we wanted to play. Certainly we were way loose on the ice, and what I mean by that is that we were getting on the wrong side of things, we didn't respect our own end. Then we got back to playing, probably, our two best games in [Los Angeles] and certainly Anaheim, and then we just fed off that momentum in the last two games. In the game against Montreal [on Thursday], they're a really good, fast team. The guys found a way to keep coming back and keep coming back before we finally got that power play goal at the end of the game."

Housley on his team's belief in each other when down in a game:

"Obviously we don't want to put ourselves in that position moving forward because it will bite us, but it is a belief. When we get down here in games, we just keep staying the course and playing our game. I give the guys credit - it's been tough. They've found ways to come back and get into games, and even win games. It's that belief that you have in that room that any situation we face we can handle it, but my point is that we can't keep putting ourselves in those positions."

Housley on Kyle Okposo's play:

"I really like the way he is down low in the offensive zone. He's a strong man and he's able to wear other teams down by just hanging on to pucks and getting guys on his backs. Certainly we'd love to have him contribute more 5-on-5, but I really like the way he's contributing on the power play. Finding those lanes, getting his shot through, and overall I really like his game up to this point."

Housley on Jason Pominville:

"He deserved to move up [on a line] with Jack [Eichel]. Basing off last year, we're trying to find balance, and he had chemistry with Jack early in the season. He's seemed to find that chemistry again with [Jeff] Skinner and Eichel."

"I think he just approaches the game the right way. He's always prepared, he's a true pro, and he comes to work. It's paying dividends off for him. He's the one who's been going to the net and screening the goalie, and because of it he's getting rewarded. You see a lot of the goals he's been scoring are five-to-10 feet around the paint. It's a credit to him because he's finding a way to get it done."

Housley on seeing Linus Ullmark in goal more:

"Right now we're just going game-by-game. We're just trying to assess and evaluate after every game, and we're going to get Linus more games eventually. He's going to get an opportunity, but I think the games he's played in he's been really sharp. He's been square to the puck, he's letting pucks hit him, there's not a lot of rebounds. [In Columbus], we had some breakdowns, but even then, it was 4-2 and he had to make a huge save for us in the second period that kept it at 4-2. Give him credit, he really battled hard through that situation. Obviously, it as the toughest game he's faced up to this point, but I'm really happy where Linus is and his development."

You can listen to Housley's entire interview below:

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