So how did a prognosis that Travis Hamonic would be out four to six weeks with a broken thumb become a return to the top defense pair after nine days?

Hamonic’s thumb was broken up by the fingernail, not down at the joint, which would have needed more time to heal. When the defenseman skated while his teammates were in Florida last week, he discovered he had little trouble gripping his stick, so it was more a matter of getting his conditioning back.

“I feel like I have no limitations on what I can normally do,” Hamonic said after Monday’s morning skate. “We felt pretty early on there was a chance I could come back a lot sooner than we originally anticipated. I feel comfortable out there.”

Hamonic suffered the injury while blocking a shot against the Oilers on Nov. 5. Adam Pelech stepped in and played capably in the past three games, but Dennis Seidenberg suffered a broken jaw — also on a blocked shot — during Saturday’s game against the Panthers, adding some urgency to Hamonic’s return.

Not that he would risk further injuring himself, nor would Jack Capuano.

“I just want to make sure we’re secure on the back end,” Capuano said. “Travis is good to go. We don’t play again till Friday and the top guys will get a little more ice time tonight and try to get some more offense in our attack.”

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That was Capuano’s way of explaining his 11-forward, seven-defensemen alignment, one he’s barely used in seven seasons. Scott Mayfield, called up from Bridgeport with Seidenberg on IR, went in for spot duty among the seven defensemen.

No surgery for Seidenberg

Seidenberg’s fluke injury may not be as long-term an absence as first thought. He does not need surgery and currently has his jaw wired shut, which means he could play as soon as he’s able with a full face shield to protect the break.