Josefson nearing his return to the lineup

The Sabres forward has missed the past nine games with a lower-body injury

Brayton Wilson
December 18, 2017 - 1:34 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


The Buffalo Sabres may be getting another injured body back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday night.

Jacob Josefson is nearing a return from a lower-body injury that has kept him out of action for the past nine games.

Josefson has a goal and an assist in nine games played this season, but has been hampered by his lower-body injury for a majority of the season. The 26-year old centerman first suffered the injury back on October 15th in a win over the Anaheim Ducks, but returned to action on November 22nd against the Minnesota Wild. Just three games later, Josefson was back on the injury report after re-aggravating the lower-body issue.

"It's always frustrating when you're out, and then you come back for a few games and then hurt it again," Josefson said following practice on Monday. "After that I was down for a bit, but you have to stay positive, work through it and get back stronger than you were before. Now I feel good, and hopefully ready to go."

In the first six games of the season, Josefson struggled to get anything going on the ice with no points, a minus-3 rating and three shots on goal. In the three games played after his first return, Josefson managed to score a goal and add an assist, and was playing quite well on a line with Jordan Nolan and Kyle Okposo.

"When you come back, it's always a challenge to find your timing and get back into game condition," said Josefson. "It's different in practice than playing games, but I felt like my linemates helped me a lot coming back and made it easy for me. I think it took me a period or two to get my feet under me, and after that I felt comfortable right away. Hopefully I can have that mindset again and can get that feeling back quick. I'm going to be very excited to get back out there."

"After being hurt and getting back in, he made an immediate contribution," Sabres head coach Phil Housley added after practice. "That line [with Nolan and Okposo] was playing really well, and it was tough to see him go down again. He brings experience; really good and solid up the middle, down low in the defensive zone, and he just knows where to be in the offensive zone. The goal he scored, he was just in good position. He's just a smart player, and it's good to have him back practicing."

Josefson has been on the ice for the past few practices with his teammates, but Monday was the first time he took part in a team skate on a line combination. He was back skating with Nolan on his left side, while Evan Rodrigues was off to his right.

The Sabres have played some decent hockey as of late with points in five of their last six games, going 2-1-3 in that stretch. Josefson is hoping to add to the Sabres' success, and be able to help continue Buffalo's turn-around from a rough start to the season.

"Last few games, it's been really good. Obviously we still want to be better, but it feels like we're working in the right direction now and we have something we can build off."

As for Tuesday night's matchup with the Boston Bruins at KeyBank Center, Josefson is hopeful that he will be back out on the ice, but it is a decision that will be left up to the coaching staff.

"My body feels good, so it will be up to the coaches," Josefson said. "I would love to, but we'll see tomorrow."

"That line looked really good," Housley said. "We'll see how he reacts after today. Another good paced practice for him. We'll see how he is tomorrow."

Here's how the lines looked on Monday:

Kane - Eichel - Pominville

Pouliot - O'Reilly - Okposo

Nolan - Josefson - Rodrigues

Girgensons - Larsson - Reinhart

Scandella - Ristolainen

Beaulieu - Bogosian

McCabe - Antipin

Gorges - Falk

Hudson Fasching and Scott Wilson were the extra skaters.

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