Fisher has short shelf life

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

As the Senators' four-day break comes to an end tonight, so too will Mike Fisher's 10-day absence.

While the Senators are itching to play for the first time since Saturday's 4-1 win over the Rangers at Scotiabank Place, the extended time off has allowed Fisher to recover enough from a knee injury.

MISSED 2 GAMES

After being helped off the ice on Nov. 17 against the Rangers in New York, it didn't look like Fisher would be playing any time soon, but he'll be in the lineup tonight against the visiting Maple Leafs after missing only two games.

"I wasn't sure. I was hopeful on the weekend and when I was skating Monday (thought he might return to the lineup tonight)," said Fisher, one of the last players off the ice at practice yesterday. "I've had a few good days and it's come along quite nicely. I'm definitely happy that I didn't miss much."

Fisher was just starting to heat up before he was hurt. He hopes that trend continues against Toronto.

"I'd like three goals," he said with a laugh. "I just want to come in and just try to pick up and get going. It's a big game for us."

Fisher skated on a line with Jarkko Ruutu and Shean Donovan during practice and that's likely what we'll see tonight. He'll also return to the point on the power play.

"(Fisher) feels good and he's had some good practices under his belt, so it's good to get him back," said coach Craig Hartsburg. "He was playing pretty well (before he got hurt) and we feel he's a key part of our team. He plays the game hard with lots of energy and speed. We're going to need that against Toronto."

OFF THE GLASS

When the Senators dropped a 3-2 decision to the Leafs on Oct. 25 at the Air Canada Centre, they were embarrassed with their play. "They beat us and we weren't happy with the way the game went," said Ottawa C Jason Spezza. "We want to get some revenge here (tonight). It's a big game for us. We've had a couple of days off and we should be pretty rested. We've had a good stretch here. Now, we've got to get some points and gain some ground in the standings." ... Senators RW Chris Neil, who had knee surgery last Friday, was in the dressing room taping his sticks. He hasn't skated yet, but hopes to be on the ice this weekend if the club's medical staff gives him the go-ahead ... Ottawa C Dean McAmmond skipped practice because of a sore throat, but is expected to play ... RW Ryan Shannon (post-concussion) could be cleared to play ... Hartsburg said the only rivalry he saw as a player that compared to Ottawa-Toronto or Montreal-Ottawa was the Chicago-Detroit games held at the old Chicago Stadium. "It seemed like when Detroit came in, they seemed to have a travelling band with them. It seemed like there were a lot of red jerseys in Chicago, but it made it for an exciting game and for intensity," said Hartsburg ... Ottawa G Alex Auld will make his seventh straight start.


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