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Sabres Notebook: Six games later, Zach Bogosian makes season debut

LAS VEGAS — Zach Bogosian got a restart to his season and his career Tuesday night.

The Buffalo defenseman played his first regular-season NHL game in more than nine months as the Sabres met the Vegas Golden Knights in T-Mobile Arena. Bogosian played only 18 games last season, none after Jan. 9, before finally having surgery on his hip in February.

Bogosian proclaimed himself healthy over the summer and looked sharp in training camp before tweaking a groin muscle during a Sept. 25 Hockeyville exhibition against Columbus in Clinton. He has slowly worked his way back, but has now had multiple practices with the club and was full-go at Tuesday's morning skate.

"It's exciting," Bogosian said. "It's not the start how I wanted things to go after coming off surgery, but I'm looking forward to getting back. I'm feeling good in practice. Games are a different story, I know. The last week I've come a long way in terms of how much intensity the skates have been. I'm looking forward to being back with the boys."

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Bogosian was partnered with Nathan Beaulieu for the game. Casey Nelson was moved out of the lineup as a healthy scratch and Matt Tennyson, who had yet to appear in a game, was sent to Rochester to make room on the roster.

"Before he got injured, he was a very powerful skater and powerful player in addition to all the intangibles he brings being a team leader and trying to foster our young guys," coach Phil Housley said of Bogosian. "Obviously, his experience and knowledge in our lineup is going to be great. I'm just happy for him. He's battled through a lot of tough situations."

Bogosian said it was disappointing to not be able to start the season on time, but the fact the Sabres won three of the five games he missed helped keep him patient during his recovery.

"It's not an easy thing to go through," he said. "Being around the guys and them having success has been good. You try to do your best as a teammate for the guys and try to be a positive influence on the team."

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The Sabres will head to San Jose immediately after the game, where they will practice Wednesday and meet old friend Evander Kane and the Sharks on Thursday in SAP Center.

Kane has four goals in six games for the Sharks this year and 13 goals in 23 games with San Jose since he was traded by the Sabres in February at the NHL trade deadline.

Veteran center Joe Thornton returned to practice Tuesday after being sidelined since Oct. 6 with an infection in his surgically repaired knee. He said he's aiming to be in the lineup Thursday night, although coach Peter DeBoer was more pessimistic.

"We can’t risk a second infection. I would put it as doubtful," DeBoer said. "I would never (bet) against him, but bottom line is, we have to let the antibiotics do their job and their job doesn’t happen overnight.”

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Remi Ellie and Johan Larsson joined Nelson as the Sabres' healthy scratches. ... Tuesday was the 36th anniversary of Housley's first NHL goal. On Oct. 16, 1982, Housley got No. 1 in a 9-2 win at Washington. Housley scored 178 of his 338 NHL goals with the Sabres. ... Buffalo center Patrik Berglund skated in his 700th game, becoming the 37th Swede in NHL history to reach the milestone. ... Former Sabres William Carrier and Brayden McNabb have played every game thus far this season for Vegas. Neither had a point entering Tuesday.

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