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Predators' Fisher skates, Game 4 availability uncertain

by Robby Stanley /

CHICAGO – Nashville Predators forward Mike Fisher did not participate in a full practice but did join his teammates approximately 20 minutes after it began Monday.

Fisher missed Games 2 and 3 because of a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. He stayed on the ice for approximately 40 minutes, putting in work after most of the Predators had left the ice.

It is unclear whether Fisher will be available Tuesday for Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 3, FS-TN, CSN-CH). Predators forward Matt Cullen has filled in on the second line in Fisher's absence.

Nashville trails 2-1 in the best-of-7 series and faces a pivotal Game 4. Chicago was able to capitalize on transition opportunities in Game 3 in a 4-2 win. The Predators know they will have to be better Tuesday.

"We learned a lot from the game [Sunday], and we've got to bring it to the game [Tuesday]," Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "Just be ready to battle, ready to skate. That's two of the biggest points if we're going to beat Chicago here, so we've just got to be ready."

Chicago's back pressure was effective against Nashville in Game 3. It forced Nashville into turnovers that led to transition opportunities the other way. The Predators will try to manage the puck better and enter the offensive zone with more speed to avoid that pressure in Game 4.

"Get the pucks deep when we have to, don't turn them over at the red line or the blue line, stuff like that," Ekholm said. "Just get them deep, get them down there and work their [defensemen]. I think that would suit us well. That's what we did the first two games at home. That's going to be a big key [Tuesday] too."

Predators coach Peter Laviolette said he thought the Blackhawks were a little quicker than they were in Game 3. Nashville liked the speed it played with in the first two games of the series and will try to get back to that style of play Tuesday.

"Just come out with that energy," Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "We've got to outwork them, and we've got to have a bigger work ethic than them. They're a fast team, they've got a lot of fast players, but we think we're a fast team too so we've just got to come out with the same energy that we did in the first two games."

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