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Predators' Smith could miss Game 4 against Ducks

Lower-body injury may sideline forward when Nashville looks to take 3-1 series lead

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent


Western Conference First Round

Nashville leads best-of-7 series 2-1

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports 3, PRIME, FS-TN, FX-CA

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators could be without forward Craig Smith when they play the Anaheim Ducks in Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round series at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Smith left the first period of Game 3 with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. He missed practice Wednesday and forward Colin Wilson took his place on the second line. 

Predators coach Peter Laviolette did not address any possible lineup changes Thursday. 

Predators forward Colton Sissons skated on the fourth line in practice Wednesday and could make his playoff debut in Game 4. The Predators know Game 4 is a big swing game and they have an opportunity to take command of the series with a 3-1 lead. 

"[Pressure] is pretty high," Sissons said. "It's kind of like the turning point of the series for both teams. We can be in a great spot up 3-1, or it's kind of a clean slate and a best-of-3 series from there on. We want this one bad." 

The Ducks played a strong defensive game in Game 3 and are looking to build on that performance. They expect the Predators to come out with a stronger effort offensively in Game 4, and they know they'll have to be even better defensively.

"They didn't score any goals, and they had a few chances but not as many as they had in the two previous games," Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg said. "We've got to keep playing with that same mentality and play five tight, and don't give them any easy shots." 

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau expects Game 4 to be the best game of the series.

"We have to do all of the right things for sure, but we have to do all of the right things even better," Boudreau said. "Because I think they'll do all of the right things better, too. It'll be a real good battle of attrition, I think, and hopefully we don't blink first." 

Here are the projected lineups:


David Perron - Ryan Getzlaf - Ryan Garbutt

Nate Thompson - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Jamie McGinn - Shawn Horcoff - Chris Stewart

Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa

Hampus Lindholm - Sami Vatanen

Simon Despres - Shea Theodore

Frederik Andersen  

John Gibson

Scratched: Chris Wagner, Mike Santorelli, Korbinian Holzer

Injured: Josh Manson (upper body), Clayton Stoner (undisclosed), Brandon Pirri (upper body)


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Colin Wilson

Miikka Salomaki - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson

Cody Bass - Paul Gaustad - Colton Sissons

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Anthony Bitetto

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Austin Watson, Eric Nystrom, Petter Granberg

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

Status report: The Ducks will go with the same lineup they used in Game 3. … The Predators held an optional morning skate. … Rinne is expected to start for Nashville. 

Who's hot: Andersen made his series debut in Game 3 and earned his second career postseason shutout. … Forsberg has one goal and two assists in the series. 

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