Christian Ehrhoff skated this morning. ©2013. Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Ehrhoff plans to return tonight

BUFFALO – The Sabres’ banged-up defense corps should be getting their best player back tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

Christian Ehrhoff, sidelined by a muscle strain Tuesday, skated this morning inside the First Niagara Center.

“I took the whole skate and I’m ready to go tonight,” Ehrhoff said afterward.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff wouldn’t pronounce Ehrhoff fully ready yet, however.

“He’s going to take warm-up tonight and we’ll see where he’s at,” Ruff said. “Early indications are he should be able to make it.”

Ruff said seven defensemen will take tonight’s warm-up.

Ehrhoff said he began hurting Monday morning. He skated prior to Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in Ottawa but couldn’t go.

“After a couple of laps I knew it wasn’t working,” he said.

Ehrhoff’s arguably been the lone bright spot on the Sabres’ struggling defense, compiling five assists and a plus-2 rating through nine games.

His 32-game stint at home in the DEL during the NHL lockout has helped him acclimate quickly during this shortened season.

“I was well prepared. I played a lot in Germany,” Ehrhoff said. “For me, it’s the middle of the season. I just had to make some adjustments to the smaller ice surface again and obviously the speed of the game is much higher here. Other than that I was feeling in good game shape.”

In other injury news, defensemen Robyn Regehr (lower body) and Andrej Sekera (bruised foot) skated this morning and could return within days. The Sabres play the Islanders in New York on Saturday and host Boston on Sunday.

“They’re both very close,” Ruff said. “I would anticipate Sekera for the weekend. Regehr (is) a possibility, too. They’re both making good strides.”

Update: Ehrhoff is back in tonight, Adam Pardy will sit.

Related: Sabres’ Kaleta nearing return following scary neck injury

Sabres recall defenseman Pardy

Sekera’s injury isn’t serious; Sabres’ blue line getting thin

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