As the Buffalo Sabres continue to remain in the playoff hunt, they may get a pair of crucial support pieces back in the lineup for their final game before the All-Star break. Head coach Don Granato said today that injured forward Dylan Cozens and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson are “progressing well.”
Both could return to play Wednesday night when Buffalo hosts the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. Although it may be a tall task, a win of any kind would propel Buffalo into the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference as the break begins, leapfrogging Pittsburgh. Buffalo is in a de facto playoff spot as it stands, as their .571 points percentage sits ahead of Washington’s .558 mark for eighth in the Conference.
Cozens’ and Samuelsson’s injuries have both been short-term, thankfully. Samuelsson missed the past two games with a lower-body injury and should return to his usual place alongside Rasmus Dahlin on the team’s top pairing. Cozens missed just one whole game after leaving last Thursday’s contest against Winnipeg with an upper-body injury late in the game. He’s quietly amidst a strong breakout season, scoring 43 points in 48 games while holding down a top-six center spot behind Tage Thompson.
Rasmus Asplund, despite his solid two-way play, has fallen out of the team’s top 12 forwards this season after the waiver claim of Tyson Jost. He’ll likely exit the lineup for Cozens to make his return.