Nelson returns to practice as Buffalo comes back from break

All the players were there except for Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner returning from San Jose

Paul Hamilton
January 27, 2019 - 7:15 pm

Photo courtesy of @BuffaloSabres

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - On Sunday, the Sabres were back on the ice as a team for the first time since they lost in Vancouver on Jan. 18. Buffalo had it’s five-day bye week, followed by the All-Star break. Only Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner were missing from practice as they were flying back from the All-Star Game in San Jose.

Casey Nelson skated with the team for the first time since being injured on Dec. 4. So far, Nelson has missed 19 games and likely won’t play in Columbus or Dallas.

Since Phil Housley was missing two forwards, he had Nelson playing right wing for practice. Nelson said the break didn’t delay his return as this is when he would’ve practiced anyway, “It was awesome, it’s what you look forward to because it’s been awhile.”

Nelson said he had gotten the injury about a week before that Leafs game, and then aggravated it, which put him out.

Housley got back to Buffalo on Friday after going home to Minnesota. He said the players kept up because they had a good first day of practice, “I was very surprised with the execution out there with the amount of time there were out. I liked the speed coming off eight, nine days was surprising so that was great."

Buffalo is heading into the home stretch and are four points out of a playoff spot as the NHL schedule resumes Monday. Housley said, “These last 34 games are going to be important, it was a great time to get a break to reboot and when I look at our team, I think we look at the 5-on-5 differential and I think that’s going to be really important. That play has got to get better.”

The Sabres were just handing the other team goals before the break started. Housley said. “It’s our checking detail. When we don’t have it we have to be really respectful of our own net and that leads to possession for us.

“When we’re coming back hard, when we have good solid gaps in the neutral zone and we turnover pucks, we look like a faster team because we’re countering right away, but if we’re slowing the play down, our forwards get disconnected and get too far ahead of the play, so if we can focus on the checking part of our game and when we’re at our best, we’re checking well.”

 

Sunday’s Lines:

Elie - Reinhart - Nelson

Thompson - Sobotka - Pominville

Girgensons - Larsson - Okposo

Sheary - Mittelstadt - Rodrigues

 

McCabe - Ristolainen

Scandella - Hunwick

Beaulieu - Pilut

Dahlin - Bogosian

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