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Ristolainen returning to Sabres' lineup; Nelson sent to Amerks

After nine games on the sidelines, the Sabres' top defenseman is back.

Rasmus Ristolainen skated on the top pair with Marco Scandella at the morning skate Friday, paving the way for him to play Friday night when the Sabres host the Edmonton Oilers. Ristolainen has been out since suffering an upper-body injury Nov. 2 in Arizona.

Ristolainen has five assists in 13 games and is skating 27:09 a night. In seven career games against the Oilers, he has six assists and eight points.

The Sabres' forward lines and defense pairs at the morning skate in KeyBank Center were:

Evander Kane-Jack Eichel-Jason Pominville
Benoit Pouliot-Ryan O'Reilly-Sam Reinhart
Zemgus Girgensons-Johan Larsson-Kyle Criscuolo
Jordan Nolan-Jacob Josefson-Kyle Okposo

Jake McCabe-Victor Antipin
Nathan Beaulieu-Justin Falk
Zach Bogosian-Josh Gorges

Forwards Matt Moulson and Seth Griffith were the extra forwards. With Ristolainen ready, the Sabres have sent Casey Nelson back to Rochester.

The Sabres' power-play units were Eichel, O'Reilly, Okposo, Reinhart and Ristolainen; and Pominville, Pouliot, Kane, Antipin and Scandella.

The Sabres are 0-5-2 in the last seven games and 5-13-4 overall. The Connor McDavid-led Oilers are 8-12-2. They beat Detroit, 6-2, Wednesday to end a three-game losing streak.

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