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Marian Hossa to return for Blackhawks on Thursday

Forward activated from injured reserve, expected to play against Sabres @NHLdotcom

The Chicago Blackhawks activated forward Marian Hossa from injured reserve on Thursday, and he's expected to play against the Buffalo Sabres at United Center (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH, NHL.TV).

Hossa, 37, has missed five games with an upper-body injury, including a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Monday in the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. He returned to practice Wednesday and skated in his usual spot at right wing with center Jonathan Toews.

"I feel better," said Hossa, who was injured in the first period against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 20. "I had the first practice after a long time, with the team, and felt good. So that's a good thing."

Asked after practice Wednesday if he was ready to return, Hossa didn't hesitate.

"I definitely think so," he said. "Obviously, that was a good test today. I think the practice was at a good tempo, high tempo. I needed it and I felt pretty decent."

Hossa is tied with center Artem Anisimov for the Blackhawks lead with 16 goals and is fifth with 23 points. The Blackhawks have gone 1-3-1 without him, scoring eight goals.

Hossa and Toews will have a new linemate: Rookie Spencer Abbott, a 28-year old forward, skated at left wing on their line at practice Wednesday. The Blackhawks recalled Abbott from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.

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