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Sabres' Ristolainen downgraded to week-to-week with injury

The Sabres are going to be without Rasmus Ristolainen for longer than originally planned.

"It's more of a week-to-week situation right now," coach Phil Housley said Thursday.

Ristolainen suffered an upper-body injury last Thursday in Arizona. He was listed as day-to-day, but Housley downgraded the defenseman after he missed two games and has yet to practice.

The Sabres could get defensive help Friday when they host the Florida Panthers in KeyBank Center. Josh Gorges has proclaimed himself ready after missing eight games. Nathan Beaulieu practiced with the second power-play unit, a sign he could play after missing seven games with an upper-body injury.

"He's getting really close, him and Josh," Housley said. "They had a really good practice today. It's good to see him out there in competitive battles and a more meaningful practice."

With those two getting close, the Sabres have returned defenseman Zach Redmond to Rochester.

Justin Falk has played admirably on the top defensive pair in place of Ristolainen. He's expected to stay with Marco Scandella after delivering five hits and three blocked shots Tuesday against Washington.

"I've really liked the attitude that he brings every day," Housley said of Falk, who missed the opening 12 games with an injury. "He brings life and energy to our team, and he's delivered and played physical on the opposing top players right now. He's just got continue to do that.

"It's not just the physicality. He puts himself in harm's way with a couple big blocks against Washington on their power play, which is great to see because it really lifts our bench."

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