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Predators' Fisher back; Girardi, Klein in for Rangers

by Robby Stanley

RANGERS (20-12-4) at PREDATORS (17-12-6)

TV: TVA Sports, MSG, FS-TN

NASHVILLE -- The New York Rangers and Nashville Predators will each get key veteran pieces back into their respective lineups on Monday at Bridgestone Arena.

Center Mike Fisher returns for the Predators. Defensemen Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein will be back for the Rangers.

Mike Fisher missed the past 11 games after sustaining a lower-body injury on Dec. 1 in a 5-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes.

"I feel good, and I'm excited to be back at it," Fisher said. "Everything feels great. I've had some good practices and am feeling confident and looking forward to it."

Fisher said he was pleased with how quickly he was able to come back from the injury. He originally feared that he would be out for an even longer amount of time.

"I got hurt before I hit the boards," Fisher said. "That's why I hit the boards actually. It was kind of a weird deal. When I did it I thought I'd be out longer than I was. I was definitely fortunate. The rehab has been really good and I'm coming back sooner than I thought, so that's a really good thing and I'm happy about that."

Girardi missed five games with swelling in his knee. Klein missed 11 games with an oblique injury sustained Nov. 30 in a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"I'm excited to help the team," Klein said. "That's the main thing. Sitting out and missing all those games and watching the team struggle and thinking you can be out there helping, that's the toughest part of being out. You just want to get back to 100 percent healthy to be able to contribute."

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers, but backup Antti Raanta will dress for the first time since sustaining a head injury Dec. 17 in a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Goalie Pekka Rinne is expected to start for the Predators, who held an optional morning skate following a full practice Sunday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick NashDerick BrassardMats Zuccarello

Chris KreiderDerek StepanJesper Fast

Oscar LindbergKevin HayesJ.T. Miller

Tanner GlassDominic MooreViktor Stalberg

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi

Keith YandleKevin Klein

Marc StaalDan Boyle

Henrik Lundqvist

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Dylan McIlrath, Emerson Etem

Injured: None


Filip ForsbergMike RibeiroJames Neal

Colin WilsonMike FisherViktor Arvidsson

Cody HodgsonCalle JarnkrokCraig Smith

Eric NystromPaul GaustadMiikka Salomaki

Roman JosiShea Weber

Mattias EkholmRyan Ellis

Barret JackmanSeth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Anthony Bitetto, Petter Granberg

Injured: Gabriel Bourque (upper body)

Status report: McIlrath will be scratched with Girardi and Klein returning.

Who's hot: Zuccarello has one goal and two assists in his past two games and leads the Rangers with 30 points. … Forsberg has five points in his past four games and has four goals in his past seven games.

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