January 4, 2019 4:15 pm

Ottawa Senators centre Pageau to make season debut after training camp injury

Ottawa Senators centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) celebrates his goal against the Arizona Coyotes with right winger Mark Stone (61) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. Pageau is expected to make his season debut on Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing the first 41 games with a torn Achilles tendon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Ross D. Franklin

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Ross D. Franklin
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Ottawa Senators centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau is expected to make his season debut on Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing the first 41 games with a torn Achilles tendon.

Pageau, who suffered the injury on the first day of training camp, originally was expected to miss four to six months.

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“This is like a miracle, really,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said after practice on Friday. “Not just ahead of time, it’s way ahead of time.”

Pageau, a 2011 Senators draft pick, has been one of Ottawa’s most reliable two-way players the past three seasons. He should give a boost to a team that has lost six in a row and is last in the Eastern Conference standings.

“He helps everywhere,” Boucher said. “Pageau’s one of our leaders, one of our most liked people. He brings courage.”

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The Senators are expected to have two other players making their Ottawa debuts on Saturday against the visiting Minnesota Wild.

Boucher said goaltender Anders Nilsson, acquired in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks this week, will start in net and winger Rudolfs Balcers, recalled from AHL Belleville, will make his NHL debut against Minnesota.

Injured top defenceman Thomas Chabot (upper-body injury) and starting goaltender Craig Anderson (concussion) both skated on Friday, with Boucher saying that the goalie could be getting close to a return.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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