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Pysyk rejoins Sabres, likely to return to lineup Tuesday

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Sabres made Mark Pysyk's recall official after practice Monday in the XCel Energy Center, and the defenseman almost certainly will play in the NHL for the first time since Nov. 17 when the Sabres play the Minnesota Wild here on Tuesday.

Pysyk turned 24 Monday and teammates chided him with birthday wishes in the locker room after practice. Due to travel delays from Buffalo, he did not arrive in time to take the ice. He played three games on a rehab stint with Rochester over the last five days after being out of the lineup since for 24 games with a broken bone in his foot.

" Everything felt good and I felt better as the week went on," Pysyk said. "I was in pretty much every situation. I played some power play, penalty kill. Played quite a bit in each of the games. It was good to get back in the swing of things."

Coach Dan Bylsma wouldn't commit to using Pysyk Tuesday but it's clear that Pysyk isn't here to sit out. One possibility would be to slide Pysyk in for Jake McCabe, who suffered a lower-body injury Sunday in Winnipeg but was able to practice Monday. The Sabres need Pysyk's work with the puck and his accurate passing; before his injury Pysyk had the top Corsi rating on the team in 5-on-5 play at just over 54 percent.

"I know some of the numbers and statistics that our team had when Mark was in the lineup," Bylsma said. "Our best possession games coincide with Mark being in the lineup. We've been decent in possession, around 50 percent, around average in the league. But I know the numbers with Mark were a lot better. And that's something we have missed with him out of the lineup for this extended period of time."

The Sabres practiced for about 40 minutes, again spending plenty of time on their power play. All players were accounted for.

 

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