According to a game day report from Nashville Predators insider Adam Vingan of The Tennessean, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette will ice a different looking squad tonight in Winnipeg when the Preds meet the Winnipeg Jets for Game 6 of their second round, best of seven series.
Facing elimination for the first time this post season, you can’t blame Laviolette for deviating from his game plan. Truth is, the Preds NEED to be better against a Jets team that has, at times, dominated them this series.
The Preds have been outplayed by the Jets for much of this series and, were it not for a Kevin Fiala double OT goal in Game 2, the this team could be in a lot bigger hole.
So, what does Laviolette have in store for this evening? Well gone are wingers Miikka Salomaki and Ryan Hartman. In their place are veterans Scott Hartnell and Calle Jarnkrok. If game day line rushes are any indication, and they usually are, this is how the Preds will line up at forward this evening:
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor ArvidssonKevin Fiala - Kyle Turris - Craig Smith
Colton Sissons - Nick Bonino - Austin WatsonScott Hartnell - Mike Fisher - Calle Jarnkrok
No official word yet on defense, but it’s expected that the blue line will line up as it has the entire series:
Roman Josi - Ryan EllisMattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban
Matt Irwin - Yannick Weber
For better or worse, the inconsistent Pekka Rinne will get the start in goal. What’s the old saying? Dance with the one you brought? Even if Rinne hasn’t been at his best, you can’t blame Laviolette for going back to him with his team’s season on the line. One thing's for sure, if the Preds have any hope of continuing their season beyond tonight, they'll need to get more production from the their top players. Leading scorer Filip Forsberg looked to be heating up before going cold last game at home. Ditto for Ryan Johansen. Kyle Turris, a player acquired for his clutch goal scoring, has been a complete no show so far in the playoffs while first year captain Roman Josi has been almost a complete non-factor against the Jets.
No official word yet on the Jets lineup. Puck drop is 8:30pm CT / 7:30pm ET.