Casey Mittelstadt was out of the Buffalo Sabres' lineup because of an illness Saturday afternoon in KeyBank Center, clearing the way for Danny O'Regan and Scott Wilson to make their season debuts.
Mittelstadt, a 20-year-old rookie center, played the previous three games after missing two games with a lower-body injury. Prior to Saturday's game, coach Phil Housley told reporters "we have a couple guys that are questionable."
Mittelstadt played 16 minutes, 11 seconds Thursday in Tampa Bay, and the Sabres did not practice Friday. He was not on the ice for pregame warm-up Saturday. Additionally, winger C.J. Smith and defenseman Casey Nelson were healthy scratches. Carter Hutton started in goal.
O’Regan, a 25-year-old acquired from San Jose in the Evander Kane trade last February, had 18 goals among 34 points in 53 games with the Amerks, and Wilson, 26, had three goals among seven points in 17 games in Rochester after clearing waivers.
“Danny’s been doing a great job down there with the line of [Rasmus] Asplund and [Victor] Olofsson,” Housley said. “He’s been making a lot of solid plays, and Willy is just that type of guy we need right now. He’s physical, he’s fast. He can play a fast game. They’re going to get an opportunity, but we’ll know more after pregame warmup.”
To make room on the roster for both forwards, the Sabres sent defenseman Lawrence Pilut to Rochester and placed winger Kyle Okposo on injured reserve, though the latter skated on his own Saturday morning after being diagnosed with a concussion. Pilut, 23, is expected to be in the Amerks' lineup tonight.
Hutton has not started back-to-back games since Jan. 8-11, but his 39-save performance in a 2-1 shootout loss Thursday in Tampa Bay earned him the nod against Washington. Linus Ullmark was originally supposed to start against the Lightning, however, he suffered a minor lower-body injury during the morning skate and was replaced in the lineup by Hutton.
Housley said Ullmark could play against the Capitals if needed.
Mittelstadt was held without a point in his previous three games and has eight goals among 19 points in 58 games this season.