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by Jourdon LaBarber / Buffalo Sabres

DETROIT - Carlo Colaiacovo struggled to catch his breath as he fell to the ice in the second period against Nashville on Saturday. The Buffalo Sabres defenseman had just turned around and taken a strong cross-check from Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson directly to his throat.

After collecting himself on the ice, Colaiacovo skated off on his own power and immediately went to the dressing room where, according to Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, he continued to gasp for air. He went to the hospital, underwent tests and was diagnosed with a dented trachea shortly after the game ended.

Luckily, he was released later that night and was a welcome presence on the ice during the team’s at practice at Joe Louis Arena on Monday afternoon.

“I feel good,” Colaiacovo said. “Obviously it was a scary incident and at the time it was pretty painful but it is what it is. Right now, it’s not really stopping me from doing much.

“For me it was hard to swallow – pardon my pun – but it was a scary moment and a long night in the hospital. Thankfully I’m OK.”

Colaiacovo said that he’s still feeling pain two days later, but he has already been cleared to return to game action. He returned to his spot on the left side of a pair with Cody Franson in line rushes on Monday.

Like Bylsma said following the game on Saturday, Colaiacovo did not believe there was any malicious intent from Arvidsson and held no ill will against the Predators forward.

He was able to take solace, in fact, from what happened as a result of the cross-check. Arvidsson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct and the Sabres scored twice to take the lead on the ensuing power play.

“That made me feel real good obviously,” Colaiacovo said. “It was a big win for us. Knowing that for as bad as the situation was it turned out to be a positive for us and got us going, those are the things we’ve got to capitalize on as a team.

“In unfortunate situations you pick the guy up and go win it for the guy so [it was] a great win for us, something to build on going into tomorrow and for me I’m just grateful to be able to be back out there.”

David Legwand took the ice for the opening faceoff on Saturday, acting as the starting centerman between Nicolas Deslauriers and Marcus Foligno.

It was a calculated move by Bylsma to start the veteran, a bottom-six forward this season, against the team for which he spent the majority of his career. Franson, another former Predator, also got the nod to start.

“We talked about it before the game,” Bylsma said. “David’s already been back to Nashville a couple times but it’s still a pretty significant moment to be a part of the starting lineup and be there in a city where he played so long.”

Buffalo’s current road trip actually features two homecomings for Legwand. After two nights in Nashville, where he played parts of 15 seasons and was the Predators’ first-ever draft pick in 1998, the forward was able to spend an off day with his family in his hometown Detroit.

For as well as the schedule worked out off the ice for the veteran, its coincided with his most productive stretch on it this season. Legwand has tallied a point in three of his last four games (2G+1A), including an assist on Buffalo’s second goal on the five-minute power play in Nashville.

Playing near the corner in the offensive zone, Legwand worked to keep possession in the Sabres’ favor and was able to move the puck to Matt Moulson in the right circle. Moulson quickly found Sam Reinhart in the high slot and fed him for the game-winning goal.

Just as he hasn’t been a regular in the starting lineup, Legwand hadn’t seen much time with the man advantage. After filling in for Evander Kane on power-play drills in practices last week, even he wasn’t sure when he’d see time with the extra man.

“[Assistant coach Dave Barr] just kind of grabbed me and pushed me out there,” he said. “I said to him after, ‘Maybe I should be in the meetings.’ But I’ve been in the League long enough where I should know what I’m doing also.”

Tuesday, playing in his hometown arena, Legwand will look to keep the point production going against the Red Wings, for whom he played the latter half of the 2013-14 season.

“The question is do I have to start him against Detroit?” Bylsma quipped. “I think he only played 20 games.”

Coverage of the game on Tuesday begins at 7 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550 with puck drop slated for 7:30 p.m.

9 Evander Kane – 90 Ryan O’Reilly – 23 Sam Reinhart
26 Matt Moulson – 15 Jack Eichel – 12 Brian Gionta
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 88 Jamie McGinn
82 Marcus Foligno – 59 Tim Schaller – 17 David Legwand

4 Josh Gorges – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
25 Carlo Colaiacovo – 47 Zach Bogosian
29 Jake McCabe – 46 Cody Franson
6 Mike Weber

31 Chad Johnson
35 Linus Ullmark

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