BUFFALO, N.Y. - About a week ago, Phil Housley told his players they need to compete more at practice. 

"You look at the teams that are successful, I guarantee that their practices have a compete level," he said. "There's a reason they're doing well and we recognize that."

"From last year, it's night and day," said Kyle Okposo, a winger who made multiple playoff runs with the Islanders. "We still have levels to go in that aspect and regard. It's trending in the right direction."

Jason Pominville also reached the postseason the Minnesota Wild, and he agrees with Okposo.

"Everyone that's been on good teams will tell you that practice habits translate to games," said Pominville. "We had good habits, we were finding ways to win no matter what."

The Sabres have had their struggles this season, but their next opponent has played even worse. Heading into Tuesday, the Arizona Coyotes lost 11 of 12 games and rank last in the NHL with three points.