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Game 55: Nashville @ Ottawa – Fisher Returns Home


Photograph by Sanford Myers/The Tennessean

Close to this time last year, Predators GM David Poile made a bold move and acquired Mike Fisher from the Ottawa Senators. This would prove to be a huge difference maker that would see the Predators enjoy their best post-season yet.

Tonight, Mike Fisher takes the ice for the first time at ScotiaBank Place on the opposing squad. In what should be a great match-up of surprising talent and unexpected success, the Predators and Senators face-off at 6:30 Central.

This Year’s Series: N/A

Looking at the Senators: The Senators are the one team that many predicting wouldn’t have a chance at even sniffing for a playoff spot. But the players in the Capital City had other plans and sit 8th in the Eastern Conference.

The Senators, however, have been struggling after a blistering pace at the beginning of the season. In their last 10 games, the Sens are a paltry 2-7-1. Ottawa will be looking to get back into early season form and trying to distance themselves from Florida who sits 2 points back in 9th place.

Looking at the Predators: The comeback kids are still keeping pace with the upper-echelon of the Western Conference. After a shootout loss to Vancouver Tuesday night, the Predators were within 3 points of Conference leading Detroit, but the Wings held court last night beating Edmonton 4-2 and collecting their 18th straight home win.

Trying to make ripples in the Western Conference and especially the Central Division has been a tall order this season, but the Predators stand 11 points ahead of the 8th spot, a decent cushion but not enough to rest one’s laurels.

For the Senators to win: ScotiaBank Place can be a pretty intimidating crowd and the return of one of their beloved in Mike Fisher will amp it up further. As much as the Ottawa faithful adore Fisher, they would appreciate a solid 60 minute effort and a much needed two points from their Senators. Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza will be dangerous for scoring as will the infamous Erik Karlsson from the blueline, Ottawa’s answer to Nashville’s Ryan Suter/Shea Weber.

The big inconsistency has been goaltending. Craig Anderson was on quite a roll from December 30th to January 19th with a 10-1-1 record. He has since gone 0-6-1, not the kind of effort to keep the Senators playoff hopes alive.

For the Predators to win: Don’t be sloppy. Too many times against the Vancouver Canucks, the Predators were caught on bad line changes that lead to at least one of Vancouver’s goals. These things shouldn’t happen on home ice where the Predators enjoy last change, but it can be even more costly away from home.

Smithson is not helping the fourth line right now and as much of a fan favorite as he is, Yip should be in his spot. The line combo of Yip/Smith/Halischuk can be a nightmare for the opposing team to cover where Smith and Halischuk can convert offensive opportunities with their speed and tenacity.

Rinne will need some more support from the defenders. Too many times Rinne was left with the opposition in prime real estate to shoot uncontested. Michalek, Spezza and Alfredsson will feast on those moments to sound the horn in the Senators favor. Klein, Josi, and Ellis need to clear the crease and the boards effectively.


If you like what I have listed out here or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to let me know on Twitter…@Preducated
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