Ottawa
Senators
48-25-9
Nashville
Predators
51-23-8

22 SOG
33 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
OTT
NSH
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Senators-Predators Preview

Thursday, 12.14.2006 / 6:00 PM

Associated Press

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Senators-Predators Preview
Ottawa Senators vs. Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are already one of the NHL's best home teams. Getting two of their best players back from injury would only make them better.

Nashville could have forwards Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan in the lineup Thursday when it tries to continue its strong play at home in a matchup with the Ottawa Senators.

David Legwand scored with 2:45 left in regulation Tuesday, lifting the Predators to a 3-2 victory over Edmonton.

Nashville (19-8-3) entered the game having lost three of four on the road, but Legwand's goal helped the Predators earn at least one point in their 10th straight home game. They are 7-0-3 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center since a season-opening loss to Chicago, and are the only NHL team with only one regulation home loss.

"It was a good win for us," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I was concerned about the first game back from a road trip. Sometimes emotionally you can be flat. I thought our guys showed some real good maturity as a group and responded really well."

Thursday could see the return of both Arnott and Sullivan, who have combined for 15 goals and 43 points. Arnott practiced Monday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery Nov. 22 and almost returned Tuesday.

"You want to get your legs back. You don't want to come back too early and hurt it again thinking you are all right," Arnott said.

Sullivan, who has missed the past two games with a groin injury, also practiced Monday and is very close to returning.

"It's always tough to take an injury but we had a lot of guys step in and do well," defenseman Shea Weber said. "And with (the injured) guys having a chance to come back, we are definitely happy."

Also absent from Nashville's lineup is starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who has missed three weeks with a hand injury. Backup Chris Mason has gone 5-3-1 in Vokoun's place, including a 38-save performance on Tuesday.

"He's been playing awesome for us," right wing Scott Hartnell said of Mason. "Steady as a rock in there, between the pipes. Tonight, when the game was on the line he was there to make some saves. There weren't many rebounds. He's just doing a solid job in net for us."

Senators goaltender Ray Emery was brilliant with 43 saves, and the Senators scored three goals in a 5:01 span of the second period Tuesday in a 3-2 victory at Detroit.

Emery was matched up against former teammate and good friend Dominik Hasek.

"He was the dominant player, there's no question," said Ottawa coach Bryan Murray. "You talk about matchups, and all the headlines today, Ray stepped up to the play and played outstanding."

Jason Spezza had two goals for Ottawa (16-15-1), which had been outscored 15-5 during a three-game losing streak.

Spezza has eight goals and seven assists during a 10-game point streak.

The Senators also have been without two key players in captain Daniel Alfredsson and defenseman Wade Redden.

Alfredsson has missed the last four games with a hip injury, while chest and shoulder injuries have kept Redden out of the lineup each of the past six contests.

The Senators have won two straight against the Predators, but they have lost the last two meetings in Nashville.

2006-2007 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 14 '06OTT 0 at NSH 6S. Hartnell
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GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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