The Ottawa Senators were already burned by one former teammate this week. They hope that same thing doesn't happen this evening against the Nashville Predators in Mike Fisher's return to Scotiabank Place.
The 31-year-old Fisher was a second-round selection by the Senators in the 1998 Entry Draft and amassed 167 goals and 181 assists in 675 games with Ottawa. His stint with the club came to an end nearly a year ago when the Sens shipped him to the Predators on Feb. 10 for a pair of draft picks, including a 2011 first rounder as they looked to begin a rebuilding process.
Fisher had five goals and seven assists in 27 games with the Predators after the deal and added seven points in 12 playoff games.
"I've been looking forward to it for a long time, but I'm sure it is going to be a little strange going into the visiting locker room," Fisher told Nashville's website. "But that being said, as an athlete you get ready for playoff games and there are different emotions, excitement and you have to learn to just channel it. I'm sure (Thursday night) will be a little like that. But you know what, when the puck drops it is all business and it is all the same."
Fisher's return comes just two days after former starting Ottawa goaltender Brian Elliott came back to town as a member of the St. Louis Blues. Elliott haunted his former club by making 28 saves in dealing the Senators a 3-1 loss, Ottawa's season-high seventh in a row.
Elliott was traded to Colorado last season for Craig Anderson, who was pulled less than four minutes into Tuesday's game after allowing a pair of goals on four shots. Alex Auld made 13 saves in relief.
Daniel Alfredsson had the lone goal for the Senators, who are on their longest losing streak since an 0-9-2 drought from Jan. 14-Feb. 9 of last year.
"The first 10 minutes, they forced a lot of turnovers and capitalized on a couple of them, and we put ourselves in a tough hole again," Alfredsson said.
Ottawa's skid, which includes losses in the first three of a five-game homestand, has dropped the club to the eighth overall spot in the Eastern Conference and just two points ahead of ninth-place Florida.
Senators defenseman Chris Phillips is expected to reach a milestone tonight after skating in his 999th career game on Tuesday. He will join Alfredsson as the only players to skate in 1,000 games with Ottawa.
Fisher will look to dampen that celebration and help his club get back on track following a 4-3 shootout loss to the Canucks on Tuesday. The loss dropped Nashville to 14-3-1 in its past 18 games and the club sits in a tie with St. Louis for second place in the Central Division, five points behind first-place Detroit.
Fisher had a goal on Tuesday to give him nine tallies and 17 points over his past 16 games. He also has eight goals in his past eight contests, while Sergei Kostitsyn and Colin Wilson lit the lamp as well.
Pekka Rinne carried a club-record 11-game win streak into Tuesday's start, but allowed three first-period goals en route to his first defeat since Jan. 5. He had allowed more than two goals just once over his run of victories.
"That's a fast team over there and we tried to match it," said Nashville defenseman Roman Josi. "I thought we played pretty well and a got a point out of it, just couldn't get that extra point."
The Predators had a six-game home winning streak snapped. They play four of their next five on the road.
Nashville posted a 6-5 overtime win when these clubs last met in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2009, with captain Shea Weber logging the game-winner as part of his two-goal effort.
The Sens, though, have sandwiched that loss with a pair of wins in Nashville, including a 2-1 victory in the lone encounter last season.