The Buffalo Sabres could be getting big reinforcements on the wing for Thursday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as Victor Olofsson and Kyle Okposo both practiced on their lines Wednesday in KeyBank Center.
Olofsson, who has been out since Jan. 2 with a high-ankle sprain, returned to the ice Saturday. Okposo, who suffered an upper-body injury during the Jan. 30 loss to Montreal, joined the club for the morning skate on Tuesday.
As they have much of the season, Olofsson was with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart in practice Wednesday while Okposo skated with Johan Larsson and Zemgus Girgensons.
"Victor Olofsson and Kyle Okposo showed good signs here today," coach Ralph Krueger said. "We're going to assess post-practice and take a final look in the morning but it looks like they're an option already for tomorrow. We'll make that final call again tomorrow."
"I didn't really know what to expect," Olofsson said. "I haven't been through one of these things before so I'm just trying to be really patient. Tomorrow is six weeks so that's kind of where we thought it would be. I feel like there's been good progress and we're where we want to be at."
Olofsson remains second in the NHL among rookies with 16 goals and has 35 points in 42 games. Okposo has five goals and seven assists
"You don't plan for anybody to be ready until they're actually skating with you in practice," Krueger said. "But what we like is just how good the rehab has worked here and how fit they feel within a couple of days. I've seen this multiple times this year so it's just a compliment to the work that's being done and the preparation for these players returning. We just like where they're at right now and it's looking good."
The Sabres could be without Marcus Johansson on Thursday as he sat out practice for maintenance of an upper-body injury.
"He's definitely in a day-to-day category again and we'll look at it tomorrow," Krueger said. "It's not a concern, long-term/big picture. If anything, it would be potentially one game."