Turris returns to Ottawa with Predators
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators will get a reminder of a trade that hasn't panned out as planned when they host the Nashville Predators at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday night.
The two major components, however, have almost produced at an even rate.
Deciding they wouldn't be able to come to terms on a contract extension with Kyle Turris before he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Senators sent their top center to the Nashville Predators in a three-way, multi-piece swap on Nov. 5 that involved the Colorado Avalanche and landed them center Matt Duchene.
The Senators (18-25-9) had a 6-3-5 record at the time.
"He was an important part of our team and an important part of the city," Senators winger Mark Stone said of Turris on Wednesday. "I'm sure he'll get a warm welcome, a deserved welcome."
As the Senators have fallen, the Predators (32-12-8) have surged forward. They are 24-7-6 since the addition of Turris, including a 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
"It's worked out great," Turris, who signed a six-year, $36 million extension after the trade, told Hockey Night in Canada before the Toronto game. "It's exciting to see what they achieved last year and how the city got behind the team ... It's such a cool atmosphere and to see the support in the city is special.
"The potential we have, now we've got to go out and take advantage of it."
Turris had five goals and 13 assists in his first 17 games with the Predators but only two goals and three assists in the last 20.
Duchene had three goals and three assists in his first 24 games with the Senators, but has six goals and eight assists in his last 14, including a three-point night in Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Devils.
"Points only tell half the tale," Duchene told Postmedia on Wednesday.
"This game means a lot more to him that it does to me, because he's facing his former team. (The Predators) are a heck of a team, one of the best in the league, a team that can challenge for the Stanley Cup this year and Kyle is a big part of that team now."
On Thursday, the Senators are hoping for the return of Stone, who remains their top scorer despite missing the last eight games with a lower-body injury. Also, possibly getting back in the lineup will be center Derick Brassard, who missed Tuesday's game with an undisclosed injury.
However, they will be without winger Alex Burrows, who was suspended 10 games for a kneeing incident Tuesday night. Burrows has had a disappointing season with only three goals and five assists.
If the Senators stick to their plan of rotating goalies, Mike Condon will start against the Predators. With Pekka Rinne playing in the seven-round shootout loss to Toronto, Juuse Saros is expected to get the call in goal for the Predators.
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