VANCOUVER -- Nashville coach Barry Trotz is looking for "a J-P game" Saturday night out of forward J-P Dumont, who will replace the injured Jerred Smithson in the Predators lineup at Rogers Arena for Game 5 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Dumont hasn't played since Game 6 against Anaheim, and even then he logged only five minutes and 37 seconds of ice time. He has played in only two of Nashville's 10 postseason games for a total of 12 minutes and 36 seconds. He has one assist, two shots and is a plus-1.
The Predators are down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.
"Just give me a J-P game, where he finds a puck and finds a way to cash in," Trotz said during his pregame media availability. "Sometimes I don't know how he does it, but he does. He just has that knack. He's got to win the walls, do those types of things."
Trotz wouldn't guarantee that Dumont will play more minutes than he has in his previous two playoff games this year, saying instead the game and Dumont's play will dictate what occurs.
"If we're chasing the game then J-P will probably get more minutes because of his offense," Trotz said. "We'll see how it plays out."
Trotz was fairly blunt in assessing what the Predators lose in Smithson, who was injured in Game 4 after playing only 6:27.
"Smitty is one of those intangible leaders," Trotz said. "He gives you those hard minutes, big faceoffs, a top penalty killer. He's sort of a Predator guy, a blood and guts guy. He gives you what you need in the playoffs -- the conviction, the commitment -- all those types of things. We'll miss him, but we've got to fill in the hole."
Dumont, who has 34 points in 50 career playoff games, might be able to give the Predators an offensive jolt. They have scored only six games in the series and were outshot, 75-51, in the two previous games in Nashville.
Trotz said the key to creating more chances is managing the puck better, something the Predators just simply haven't been able to do.
"Some of our guys aren't adjusting. They are trying to put pucks through people instead of get it behind people, keep it simple and grab the chip and chase game if you need to," he said. "The game presents different things, either rush opportunities or a cycle game or maybe it doesn't give you any of that and you have to grind it out. That's what (I mean when) I talk about we have a couple of guys that are not adjusting to the game. If the game is not presenting much then you've got to find a way to keep it simple, grind it out. We've shown some of our immaturity at times in sections of the game in the last couple of games."
They can't afford to show their immaturity in Game 5. The Predators will be eliminated if they do.
"We know we have our backs against the wall here and we really have to take a short-term approach," Trotz said. "If we do, things will hopefully work out in our favor. If we don't, we're done. That's pretty simple."
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