|Senators forward Mike Fisher talks to the media about his return to the lineup tonight.|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators will have a different look tonight against the Washington Capitals compared to the team that faced the Montreal Canadiens last night.
Forward Mike Fisher returns from a knee injury that has forced him out of the lineup since Dec. 27, and Martin Gerber makes his first start in goal since a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 7.
Fisher was originally expected to return to the lineup Saturday when the Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he feels ready to play tonight.
"Obviously, I'm pretty excited. It's been a little while," Fisher said after participating in an optional skate this morning. "I had a real good weekend and had some good skates in. I feel ready to go."
Senators head coach Bryan Murray expects Fisher to give the club a boost tonight.
"The first game back there will be energy, and I know he'll play as hard as he can. Over the next couple of games he will get better and will be a very important player on this team."
Murray didn't speculate on where Fisher will be slotted in the lineup tonight, but he did say the line of Chris Kelly, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley would remain intact.
In 38 games this season, Fisher has nine goals and 24 points.
For Gerber, he's looking forward to facing a young and determined Capitals team.
"This is a very hard-working team, especially around the net," Gerber said. "They put everything they have out there."
Gerber, who is playing in his 20th game of the season tonight, explained his attitude going into his first match in three weeks.
"I just want to get in there and get the first few shots and go from there."
Forwards Brian McGrattan and Denis Hamel won't play tonight.