During his 10-plus seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Mike Fisher
was a fan favorite who was instrumental to their Stanley Cup finals
run five years ago. He was an adept goal scorer, but never scored
as proficiently as he is now for the Nashville Predators.
Fisher makes his return to Ottawa almost a year to the day he
was traded when the Predators face the struggling Senators on
Ottawa (27-22-7) selected Fisher in the second round of the 1998
draft and he donned a Senators sweater for 675 regular-season games
and 75 playoff contests before being dealt to Nashville last Feb.
10 for two draft picks. He helped Ottawa advance past the first
round in four of seven playoff appearances, including the 2007
Stanley Cup finals and the 2003 Eastern Conference finals, and his
167 goals rank sixth in franchise history.
Fisher was popular in the community, but the Senators had lost
11 straight games leading up to the day he was traded and general
manager Bryan Murray felt the franchise needed to rebuild. He was
shipped to the Predators (32-17-5) and keyed their push to the
playoffs, as he is now.
Nashville has climbed into a tie for fourth in the Western
Conference, going an NHL-best 11-2-1 since Jan. 7 with Fisher
tallying nine goals and seven assists. He leads the Predators with
16 goals, half of which have come in the last eight games.
Fisher, Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn each had a goal
Tuesday against Northwest Division-leading Vancouver, but all three
failed to score during a six-round shootout as Nashville lost
Pekka Rinne had his 11-game winning streak snapped. He yielded
three first-period goals, including two 23 seconds apart, but did
not allow another score until the shootout.
“When we get down, we know how good Pekka can be,” Fisher said.
“He can shut the door, and we just seem to be able to relax and
play. We try to chip away and we never give up. It would have been
nice to get that one but that’s a good hockey team.”
Rinne has won his last six road games while posting a 1.32
goals-against average. He started Nashville’s last matchup with
Ottawa, stopping 28 shots in a 2-1 loss Dec. 23, 2010.
That came not long before Fisher left Ottawa, and just like at
the time he was traded, the Senators are slumping.
Ottawa has been outscored 23-9 during a season-worst seven-game
losing streak, dropping from third place in the East to eighth.
Craig Anderson made his 18th consecutive start Tuesday but
didn’t last four minutes in a 3-1 loss to St. Louis, surrendering
two goals on four shots. Alex Auld entered and turned aside 13 of
14 shots, but Ottawa still lost for the fourth straight time at
“The biggest thing is to make sure we’re sticking together,”
said Auld, who hasn’t made a start since Dec. 30. “That’s what has
gotten us through some tough times this year is the fact that we
are a close group and we have to make sure that we are holding each
other accountable and still having a lot of fun in practice and I
believe we’re going to get out of this.”
Daniel Alfredsson notched his 18th goal Tuesday and has been one
of the few Ottawa players to score with some regularity lately,
tallying four in the last nine games.
Milan Michalek leads the Senators with 23 goals but has none in
the past 11 games. Jason Spezza, who has 20 goals and a team-best
51 points, has one assist during the losing streak.