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Ristolainen, Wilson return to practice

Notes from Tuesday's practice at KeyBank Center

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

Scott Wilson and Rasmus Ristolainen returned to practice with the Sabres on Tuesday as they prepared for their penultimate preseason game, at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

Wilson had been absent since sustaining a lower-body injury in Toronto on Friday. Ristolainen missed practice on Monday due to an illness. 

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said that Wilson is available to play against the Blue Jackets, though a final roster will be announced later Tuesday. Wilson was one of 17 forwards at practice, all of whom are vying to crack the opening-night roster. 

"We're pleased with this group that's out there right now and we kept such a big roster because of how well everybody's performed in training camp," Krueger said. "So, we'd be comfortable with any mix of these 12 forwards starting for us. 

"It will all come down to the kind of synergies we're looking for in the lines and the balance we need between some grit and skill, some power play, some penalty kill. All of that's going to play out in the end, not necessarily the effort of any individual."

Krueger once again emphasized that the opening-night roster will be tailored to what he feels gives the Sabres their best chance against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, with evaluation to continue on a daily basis from that point on.

Moreover, the coach said that no determinations will be made solely on these final two preseason games. Rather, the coaching staff will lean on a depth of information including last season and players' work throughout training camp.

Video: TRAINING CAMP: Krueger

"Quite honestly, I think that competition never stops," Krueger said. "Anybody who's in this group right now who isn't on our roster the first night is going to work hard in Rochester to make sure they come back, right? So, that competition never ends. That's one of the things we worked on this summer. 

"Jason did an excellent job of increasing the depth of our team, not losing and key parts but adding others who have pushed into the lineup. That makes for an internal competition that's only good for the group. I'm excited to keep that competition alive as long as I'm here."

 

Sabres on MSG

The game against Columbus on Wednesday will be broadcast on MSG with Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray on the call. Brian Duff and Marty Biron will host the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m. with full postgame coverage to follow. 

 

Lines at practice

Wilson worked in at forward alongside rookie Dylan Cozens, while Ristolainen resumed his place on the defense pair alongside Rasmus Dahlin. 

Here's how the Sabres lined up in full:

68 Victor Olofsson - 9 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart 
53 Jeff Skinner - 90 Marcus Johansson - 21 Kyle Okposo
13 Jimmy Vesey - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 71 Evan Rodrigues 
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 17 Vladimir Sobotka - 72 Tage Thompson
81 Remi Elie - 74 Rasmus Asplund - 27 Curtis Lazar
42 Dylan Cozens - 20 Scott Wilson

26 Rasmus Dahlin - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
19 Jake McCabe - 33 Colin Miller 
8 Casey Nelson - 3 William Borgen
6 Marco Scandella - 10 Henri Jokiharju
58 John Gilmour

40 Carter Hutton
35 Linus Ullmark

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