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At the Rink blog

Preds missing Fisher, two others vs. Blackhawks

Monday, 10.31.2011 / 2:12 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

CHICAGO -- This isn't exactly the way the Nashville Predators wanted to go into their first meeting of the season with the Central Division rival Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at the United Center.

Saturday's 3-0 win against the Anaheim Ducks has taken a toll on the Preds, who incurred a couple of injuries in that game that are holding over to Monday and possibly beyond.

Top center Mike Fisher (upper body) didn't make the trip after he took a big hit against the Ducks and forward Nick Spaling (lower body) was placed on injured reserve after leaving the Anaheim game early. Sergei Kostitsyn, who missed the Anaheim game with a lower-body injury, is also not expected to play on Monday.

Rookie Craig Smith will center the top line, but that's really the only lineup adjustment that appears set in stone heading into the game. The Preds also called up forward Ryan Thang from its AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

"How do we (respond)?" Nashvile coach Barry Trotz said after the Preds' morning skate. "Like we always do. We'll just put someone in and good luck. Craig will go to center tonight but with the forward lines, we'll move them around a little bit just to give him some support."

Trotz said Fisher seems to be doing better and could make Nashville's upcoming West Coast road trip that starts on Thursday. Spaling is getting a further diagnosis on his injury Monday, while Kostitsyn continues to be day-to-day.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery