BOSTON -- Brendan Guhle was not allowed to leave Rochester's bench during the third period and overtime Saturday night in Cleveland. He watched the Cleveland Monsters tie the game, and his teammate, C.J. Smith, score the Americans' winning goal.
Then he boarded a plane to join the Buffalo Sabres in Boston for their game Sunday against the Bruins. Guhle, a 21-year-old defenseman, was told during the second intermission of the Amerks' 2-1 win that he was heading to the NHL. In a corresponding move, the Sabres placed defenseman Lawrence Pilut on injured reserve.
The Sabres were in need of another defenseman when Nathan Beaulieu suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of a 4-3 shootout loss in Washington on Saturday night. With Beaulieu expected to be out day-to-day, it was Guhle who got the call.
"I wasn’t really thinking about when I’d be coming back," Guhle told reporters Sunday at TD Garden. "I was just kind of focusing on my own game. It’s nice to get the opportunity."
Guhle, a second-round draft pick in 2015, struggled in Rochester early this season; however, his play improved over the past 10 days, according to coach Phil Housley. Guhle scored a power-play 17:12 into the second period Saturday night -- his third goal of the season -- and found out moments later he was joining the Sabres.
"That was pretty shocking," Guhle said with a laugh.
He has 13 points and a minus-4 rating in 25 games for Rochester and was improving in his own defensive zone. Entering Sunday, Guhle had appeared in 21 career games for the Sabres, including 18 last season when he had five assists with a minus-6 rating.
In addition to Beaulieu's injury, Matt Tennyson was a minus-3 against the Capitals, which led him to be a healthy scratch against Boston. Tennyson, 28, was recalled after a rash of injuries to Buffalo's blue line but had no assists in four games.
Although Marco Scandella returned Saturday after missing eight games, Jake McCabe and Casey Nelson remain out of the lineup. Matt Hunwick, a 33-year-old acquired from Pittsburgh in June, also made his Sabres debut Sunday. He suffered a neck injury during an off-ice offseason workout that held him out of game action until last Wednesday, his first of two games in a conditioning assignment with Rochester.
Guhle had eight goals among 26 points and a plus-1 rating in 50 games for the Amerks last season. Housley's conversations with Rochester coach Chris Taylor indicated that Guhle was beginning to contribute more offensively.
"Last year, he was really attacking the game and using his speed," Housley said. "I think he got a little bit away from that. It’s more or less trying to find his identity as a player, and I think he’s found that in the last 10 games. Obviously, he’s contributing offensively. We wanted him to continue to add to the rush and our offensive game and use his speed to his benefit."
Despite his five game-winning goals entering Saturday, Jeff Skinner was not on the ice in overtime or the shootout of the 4-3 loss to the Capitals in Capital One Arena. Instead, Conor Sheary, Tage Thompson, Evan Rodrigues and Casey Mittelstadt played during the 3-on-3 overtime.
Jason Pominville was stopped in the Sabres' final shootout attempt. Housley called Skinner's absence a "personal decision."