Skip to Main Content

Predators to test depth of lineup in Game 2 against Blues

Nashville needs to replace injured forward Kevin Fiala

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will have a different look playing without forward Kevin Fiala in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round against the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). 

Fiala fractured his left femur in Game 1 on Wednesday when he crashed into the boards after being checkd by Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo. Fiala will be out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators won the game 4-3 and lead the best-of-7 series.

"You never want to see something like that," Bortuzzo said. "It's a terribly unfortunate result to a play. You kind of just have to put it behind you. You wish him the best in his recovery, but you have to move forward and put it behind you. It's a tough sport out there."

The Predators have options to replace Fiala. Forwards Calle Jarnkrok, Craig Smith and Pontus Aberg missed Game 1 with undisclosed injuries but participated in the morning skate Friday, and Miikka Salomaki and Harry Zolnierczyk were healthy scratches. Zolnierczyk played in all four games in the first round sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks.


[RELATED: Complete Blues-Predators series coverage]


Coach Peter Laviolette said he expects the Predators to fill the hole by committee.

"If you think about it, we've tried to do it with depth and balance," Laviolette said. "When you go back to really all five games, we've been getting contributions from everybody. So I think it's important that we continue down that road."

Forward Colin Wilson returned to the lineup in Game 1 after missing the first round with a lower-body injury and played with Mike Fisher and James Neal after Fiala's injury. Wilson has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists) in his past 21 playoff games.

"He's a big part of our team, and as we all know he's a big playoff performer," Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. "A guy like him getting back into the lineup at this time, we're going to need him to keep stepping up and play the way we know he can."

Video: Preview of the Preds and Blues Game 2

The depth of the Predators has been tested so far in the playoffs, and they have responded. Forward Vernon Fiddler scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 win in Game 1 after he didn't play in the first round, and forward PA Parenteau played in the past two games for the Predators in place of Smith.

Fiddler and Cody McLeod joined Austin Watson on the fourth line Wednesday after neither had played since the end of the regular season. They were up to the challenge of adjusting to the speed of playoff hockey.

"I think it's really impressive," Johansen said. "Even for myself with six days off and going back out there, it's a tough adjustment. All year long you're used to playing every other day or maybe two days off and a lot of back-to-backs, and it's tough to really stay in game form. For those guys being out of the lineup for a bit and having to come in and play big roles in the second round of the playoffs. To me it was really impressive, and it's a huge credit to them in doing a great job with that. They're only going to get better now being in more games."

Fiala, who had surgery on his leg, will fly back to Nashville with the Predators and faces a recovery time of 4-6 months, which could put the start of next season in jeopardy, Sportsnet reported Friday.

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.