The Sabres bring back Pilut

Casey Mittelstadt may get a game off on Monday

Paul Hamilton
March 24, 2019 - 5:18 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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Newark, NJ (WGR 550) - Zach Bogosian has been nursing an injury that has taken him out of most practices lately. Bogosian wasn’t at practice on Sunday in New Jersey. Phil Housley said, “He’s just day-to-day maintenance. Just being cautious with his lower-body and I plan on him being in the lineup tomorrow.”

Just in case he isn’t, Lawrence Pilut was brought up because Matt Hunwick is out. Housley said, “He’s here as a precaution, we’re depleted with Matt Hunwick’s situation as well so we felt we needed some insurance and those decisions will be made at game time tomorrow.”

Pilut played very well when he first got up to Buffalo, but when teams figured him out, they started going straight for him with speed and he was making a lot of mistakes. Housley said, “I think his overall game was really good when he got here. He played some really good minutes for us in a lot of different situations.

“Sometimes in a young man’s development, you take a step back and you’re not at the speed, I didn’t think he was moving his feet as well, his defensive reads weren’t as sharp as they needed to be, so we brought him back down to Rochester to find his game.”

Pilut arrived as practice was ending, so Casey Mittelstadt filled in with Rasmus Ristolainen on defense. That usually means that Mittelstadt isn’t playing on Monday. Housley said he just wants to give the kid a chance to exhale and relax, “Sometimes in a player’s development it’s not a bad thing to take a step back. We give up way too much and it’s not what you make, it’s what you leave on the table and right now we’re leaving way too much and in Casey’s defense, it might be a good thing to take a deep breath, he’s played a lot of hockey, so we’ll make that decision tomorrow.”

Pilut knew his play had slipped drastically and that’s why he got sent down after 25 games in Buffalo. He said, “I tried to learn from it, learn from the bad things and keep the good things in mind. I want to keep working on my consistency.”

After Pilut went back down, he continued to struggle. He said, “I think it’s been better. I think I had great consistency in the beginning of the season, but when I came back now, I struggled a little bit, but I’ve been finding my way back slowly and I thought yesterday was a good game for me.”

One of the most important analytics that Housley pays attention to is 5-on-5 differential. It is something that the Sabres are not good at and Housley believes that’s why they haven’t been winning games, “It’s so important. If you look at every playoff team or teams in playoff position, their 5-on-5 is on the plus side, so that’s what we need to focus on.  

“The games where we’ve had the most success, we’ve been on the right side of that and what does that mean? That means playing well without the puck. If we don’t have it, we have to have an urgency without it.”

 

Sunday’s Lines:

Sheary - Eichel - Nylander

Skinner - Rodrigues - Reinhart

Thompson - Sobotka - Pominville

Girgensons - Larsson - Okposo

Wilson

 

Mittelstadt - Ristolainen

Dahlin - Montour

Scandella - Nelson

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