BUFFALO – Defense prospect Lawrence Pilut’s first trip to the Sabres was more about experiencing the NHL life than receiving playing time.
The Sabres have also been winning, so coach Phil Housley hasn’t tinkered much with his lineup.
So Pilut, 22, sat out Friday afternoon’s 3-2 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens inside KeyBank Center as a healthy scratch, the second game the rookie watched after being summoned Wednesday.
“You can see how the guys approach practice, how they approach games … just the day-to-day routines,” Housley said of what Pilut can learn.
Of course, fans wanted to see Pilut, perhaps the Sabres’ biggest defense prospect, showcase his talents at hockey’s highest level.
The slick Swede has performed dynamically in his first 15 AHL games, compiling 22 points with the Rochester Americans. His 19 assists also led the league as of Friday afternoon.
“Here is where I want to be,” said Pilut, who signed a two-year, entry-level contract in May. “Here is where I want to play. I’m just happy right now to be up here. Now I just want to get into the action.”
At his current pace, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Pilut would score a whopping 107 points, the AHL’s highest total ever by a defenseman.
“I felt good,” said Pilut, who has been quarterbacking the Amerks’ power play. “I had a good feeling coming into the season. It feels like I’ve been playing good down in Rochester. Everybody’s been so good to me down there.”
Housley said Pilut’s “overall 200-foot game” with the Amerks has impressed him.
“He’s making really good reads in the D-zone,” Housley said. “He knows when to jump in the rush, his timing’s really good and he’s contributing offensively because of that. … He’s getting power-play time, he’s playing in all situations. He’s in a good area where his development is now.”
The undrafted Pilut took an interesting path to the NHL, playing five seasons in the Swedish Hockey League. Last year, he compiled eight goals and 38 points in 52 contests and earned SHL top defenseman honors.
That breakout campaign attracted the interest of the Sabres.
“My dream is to play in the NHL,” Pilut said. “Hopefully one day it will come.”
Scandella, who blocked a shot Monday, returned Friday. To make room, the Sabres scratched defenseman Casey Nelson.
The Sabres, who have won eight straight games, now have points in eight consecutive contests for the first time since a nine-game run (7-0-2) from March 10 to 27, 2012. Friday’s win secured their first five-game home winning streak since Nov. 28 to Dec. 15, 2014.
Officials whistled Sabres winger Jason Pominville for a third-period holding call, his first penalty in 29 games going back to March 26 last season.
Pominville had eight penalty minutes in 2017-18 and four in 2016-17.
Notes: After scoring in the second period, Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher has 12 goals in 25 games versus the Sabres. … Canadiens winger Nick Deslauriers has been playing with a full cage on his helmet since suffering a facial fracture from a fight in the preseason. Deslauriers spent four seasons with the Sabres. … The Sabres also scratched winger Remi Elie.