The Nashville Predators already had an incredibly daunting task ahead of them when they drew the Colorado Avalanche in the first round, but now it might seem an impossible task. Head coach John Hynes told reporters including Adam Vingan of The Athletic that Juuse Saros, injured in the last week of the season, will miss at least the first two games of the series. Saros is on the trip but it is not yet clear when he will be back for the Predators.
In his absence, Hynes explained that they are still discussing whether to start David Rittich or Connor Ingram in game one. A decision that might be easy for most teams that have a regular backup, the Predators are in a sort of a unique situation. No other team relied on their starter more heavily than Nashville, who had Saros start 67 games this season. Rittich posted an .886 save percentage in 17 appearances, while Ingram had a .879 in three. The series starts tomorrow night.
- Emily Kaplan of ESPN reports that Carolina Hurricanes starter Frederik Andersen has a sprained knee, though there is no structural damage. She believes it is highly unlikely that the primary Jennings winner will be ready for game two. Antti Raanta will get the start tonight, though with his own history of injuries the team has brought along an extra goaltender. Jack LaFontaine has been recalled from the minor leagues, and will likely serve as the emergency backup tonight. Unlike the regular season, where each venue hosts an EBUG that can end up dressing for either team, in the playoffs teams can carry their own.
- It appears as though the Edmonton Oilers will have Darnell Nurse in the lineup tonight, despite him not actually confirming it at his press availability. Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug of TSN discuss the situation, noting that while the top defenseman is technically a game-time decision, they both believe he’ll be available this evening. Nurse hasn’t played since April 22, when he left early against the Colorado Avalanche. As they have many times in the second half, the Oilers could dress seven defensemen, especially if Nurse is still not at 100 percent.