Fisher king in Nashville again as Predators host L.A.

Wednesday morning, the Nashville Predators may have gotten stronger without having to deal a prospect or a draft pick.

The news that Mike Fisher is coming out of retirement to return to the team he captained within two wins of the Stanley Cup last spring was unexpected, but is a no-lose proposition. If he still has something left in the tank for the homestretch and a playoff run, then Nashville has beefed up its center depth and added a proven leader on and off the ice.

If not, then it's not like the Predators were counting on him this season anyway, not after his retirement over the summer. Regardless, the announcement probably added some juice to Thursday night's home game with the Los Angeles Kings at Bridgestone Arena.

"I believe this team is built to win," Fisher said at a press conference announcing his return. "We have a very good chance, so that is part of the reason why I want to come back and compete and be a part of it. I believe that this year can be our year and that's what I want to be a part of and have some fun."

Fisher skated Wednesday before making it official, and will participate in several practices with the team. The plan is to have him sign a contract prior to the trading deadline on Feb. 26 in order to make him eligible for the season's remainder, including the playoffs.

Nashville (29-12-7) could also welcome back left winger Filip Forsberg on Thursday night. Forsberg, who's tied for the team lead with 15 goals, has missed the last 11 games with an upper-body injury. The Predators are 6-3-2 in his absence.

Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to Chicago underlined why the team misses Forsberg, though. Nashville fired 22 shots at Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg in the third period, but couldn't beat him. That doesn't count Austin Watson's attempt that clanged off the goal post in the first five minutes of the period.

"It's going to be great to get all our players back and available to play," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said of Forsberg's impending return. "I think our guys have done a really good job of filling in for each other when they've been banged up."

Los Angeles (27-18-5) did just that Tuesday night in Dallas, where it dominated the Stars in a 3-0 win. Goalie Jonathan Quick was placed on injured reserve Monday with what the team called a lingering injury, but backup Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for his second shutout in 11 starts.

Quick, who opted out of the All-Star Game and faced a one-game suspension from the NHL prior to hitting IR, could return Thursday night. But the Predators have had success against him this year, beating him 4-3 on Jan. 6 in Staples Center.

Still, the Kings have played well most of the season, aside from losing seven of eight just before the All-Star break. The victory in Dallas was one of their best all-around efforts as they outshot the Stars 42-28.

"Coming out of the break, we were going to have to get productive minutes from everybody," Los Angeles coach John Stevens said. "I thought everybody gave us productive minutes. We stayed on top and got pucks deep."

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