NEWARK, N.J. -- With only eight games remaining in another non-playoff season for the Buffalo Sabres, coach Phil Housley chose to sit rookie center Casey Mittelstadt against the New Jersey Devils in Prudential Center on Monday night.
Mittelstadt, a 20-year-old drafted eighth overall in 2017, has 11 goals with 12 assists in 70 games -- 30 more than he played last season between the University of Minnesota and Sabres.
Housley cited workload as a reason why Mittelstadt was a healthy scratch for the first time this season, but acknowledged defensive struggles factored into the decision.
"It's a matter of he's played a lot of hockey," Housley said. "He's never gone through a grind like this. For the most part, he's doing an excellent job trying to learn from our coaching staff, doing the right thing. We really recognize that. At the same time, I think it's taken its toll. It's not bad to just take a step back and regroup, and focus on the rest of the season."
With Mittelstadt out, Tage Thompson drew back into the lineup. Additionally, defenseman Lawrence Pilut played with Zach Bogosian (lower body) and Matt Hunwick (upper body) out because of injury.
Mittelstadt played 11 minutes, 14 seconds in the Sabres' 7-4 loss in Montreal on Saturday night, and assisted on Sam Reinhart's first-period goal. While Mittelstadt has shown some progress offensively, he continues to struggle with defensive coverage.
He has three goals with one assist and a minus-10 rating in his last 16 games and has missed only four games because of injury or illness this season.
Entering Monday night, Thompson had not scored a goal in 21 straight games and was a healthy scratch Saturday against Montreal. The 21-year-old had seven goals with five assists and a minus-21 rating in 63 games.
While Evan Rodrigues centered the Sabres' second line against the Devils, Vladimir Sobotka was in the middle of the third forward group. Sobotka had two goals over his previous 54 games entering Monday.
With the Sabres playing the second night of a back-to-back Tuesday in Ottawa, Housley would not commit to having Mittelstadt rejoin the lineup against the Senators.
"We'll evaluate tonight and see how our team plays," Housley said Monday afternoon. "Those things will be on a day-to-day basis."
Amerks recall two from Cincinnati
Rochester recalled defenseman Kurt Gosselin and forward Judd Peterson from Cincinnati on Monday.
Gosselin had five goals with two assists in seven games with the Cyclones after he joined them on an amateur tryout earlier this month. The 24-year-old signed an entry-level contract with the Amerks after completing his senior season at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Rochester was in need of another defenseman after Pilut was recalled by the Sabres on Monday.
Peterson, a seventh-round draft pick of the Sabres in 2012, had 11 goals with 17 assists in 48 games for the Cyclones this season. He was previously recalled by the Amerks in January and scored his first career AHL goal.
ECHL adopts video review
The ECHL announced Monday the league will use video replay for goal reviews next season. For the first time in league history, referees will be able to review video streams from overhead cameras located above each goal and can make decisive rulings directly from the ice using a tablet device.
At the referee's discretion, the following circumstances are eligible for instant replay and subsequent ruling: puck crossing the goal line; entering the net using a distinct kicking motion; directed, batted or thrown into the net by an attacking player; entering the net before the goal frame is dislodged from the moorings; and crossing the goal line prior to time expiring.
Bryson, Providence advance
Sabres prospect Jacob Bryson, a 21-year-old junior defenseman, and Providence College will face third-seeded Minnesota State-Mankato in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Providence, R.I.
The winner will face either Cornell or Northeastern. Bryson, a fourth-round draft pick by the Sabres in 2017, has four goals and 21 assists in 39 games this season.
Luukkonen, Sudbury up 3-0
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, a 20-year-old Sabres goalie prospect, has posted a .939 save percentage in three games to help Sudbury take a 3-0 lead over Mississauga in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
Sudbury will try to advance when the two teams play Wednesday night. Luukkonen, a second-round draft pick of the Sabres in 2017, had 38 wins and a .920 save percentage with six shutouts in 53 regular-season games for Sudbury. He also led Finland to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships.