Bergenheim hasn't played in an NHL game since Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Panthers and New Jersey Devils, missing all of last season and the first 10 games this season because of abdomen, groin and hip issues.
"It's been a while, but I don't feel that it's been that long," Bergenheim said after the Panthers' morning skate. "When I look at how many months it's been since I played, I don't feel that on the ice. I don't feel it's been that long. I'm really happy to be back. For sure, I missed this.
"I'm not nervous right now, but I'm sure I'll get some butterflies before the game here. … [I'm] just feeling really good and ready. That's the feeling I have right now."
Bergenheim had a career-best 17 goals in the 2011-12 season, and three goals and three assists in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the injury kept him from building on that success.
That's in the past, though, and the Panthers are hoping Bergenheim once again can contribute the way he did two seasons ago.
"The last we saw him as a player he was an extremely effective player for us," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "He really changed the tempo of Game 7 [against the Devils] with his play in the third period.
"I'd love to see him, even though it was a long time ago, pick up right where he left off as a Florida Panther."
"It's great to have him back in the lineup," forward Tomas Fleischman said. "He's one of the best clutch guys on the ice. He's like a bulldog playing out there. Sometimes when the game is getting close he always brings his best and everybody sees that. We're just excited to have him in the lineup [Friday]."
"That's kind of where we're at right now with the roster," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after his team's morning skate. "We'll have seven back there. If anything happens up front then we can move a guy up there."
Here are the projected lineups the Sabres and Panthers will use Friday at BB&T Center:
Scratched: Rasmus Ristolainen
Injured: Ville Leino (rib)