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Predators' Smith questionable for Game 3

Nashville forward battling lower-body injury; Sharks aim to take 3-0 series lead

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent


Western Conference Second Round

Sharks lead best-of-7 series 2-0

TV: 9 p.m. ET; USA, SN360, TVA Sports 2

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators could be without forward Craig Smith for Game 3 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday. 

Smith did not participate in the morning skate and has been battling a lower-body injury since Game 3 of Nashville's first-round series against the Anaheim Ducks. He missed Game 1 but was able to play in Game 2 against San Jose.

"I think most every team is dealing with guys that are banged up right now," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's the playoffs, and guys are playing through things and with things or they're out of the lineup based on the severity of the injury. Most everybody is dealing with it. 

"I can tell you that there is nothing that goes unmonitored. Everything gets thought about and talked about to do what's in the best interest of the player and the best interest of the team this time of the year."

The Predators are two games behind in a series for the first time in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They know that Game 3 will be a pivotal game for them to build on if they can win. 

"You want to win," Predators forward Colin Wilson said. "Statistically, being down 3-0 isn't very favorable so we're just going to have to get back and try to win." 

The Sharks have a chance to take a 3-0 series lead and are 3-0 in the playoffs on the road. They weren't happy with the amount of turnovers they had in Game 2 and want to correct that in Game 3. 

"I think as a group we have to catch ourselves before that snowballs like it did," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think that's the thing. I think most nights when we get into the game and we start to turn over some pucks, we catch ourselves as a group and get ourselves back on track, and that didn't happen the other night." 

Here are the projected lineups:


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski  

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Joel Ward

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Melker Karlsson  

Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Scratched: Dainius Zubrus, Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson

Injured: None


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Pontus Aberg

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson  

Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Colton Sissons

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Anthony Bitetto  

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Eric Nystrom, Austin Watson, Petter Granberg

Injured: Craig Smith (lower body), Cody Bass (lower body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body)

Status report: The Sharks held an optional morning skate. … Aberg participated in the morning skate for the Predators and could be in the lineup if Smith is unable to play. 

Who's hot: Couture has three goals in the series and has 10 points in seven playoff games. … Ekholm has one goal in the series and is tied for the Predators lead with three goals in the playoffs. 

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