3 Keys: Predators at Hurricanes, Game 5 of first round

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No. 4 Predators at No. 1 Hurricanes

8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN360, TVAS, BSSO, BSSO

Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

Jaccob Slavin could play for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round at PNC Arena on Tuesday.

The defenseman took part in the morning skate. He’s missed the past three games with a lower-body injury after playing 21:25 in Game 1, a 5-2 victory.

“I mean, it’s a good sign. We’re hopeful,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He has to try it in warmups, really push it and then see where we’re at.”

The Predators won Game 3 and Game 4 in double overtime to tie the series. Forward Luke Kunin scored his first two goals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including the game-winner in Game 4 on Sunday. 

Teams that win Game 5 when tied 2-2 are 213-58 (78.5 percent) winning a best-of-7 series.

Here are three keys for Game 5:

 

1. Saros sizzling

Juuse Saros is one of 18 goalies since the 1955-56 season with multiple postseason games of at least 50 saves and one of eight to do so in the same year. He made 52 saves in Game 3 and 58 in Game 4 to help the Predators even the series.

“He’s a stud,” Nashville forward Ryan Johansen said. “He’s a big part of our team success and our success in winning these last two games. He’s going to keep doing his thing and we’re going to keep counting on him.”

Dan Ellis is the other Predators goalie with at least 50 saves in a playoff game. He made 52 in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 5 of the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals.

 

2. Power play needs to deliver

Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho said no big changes are needed on the power play, which was 0-for-4 with six shots in Game 4 and is 2-for-14 in the series.

“If you see our power play, I don’t know how many shots we got but it seemed a lot,” Aho said Monday. “I feel we don’t have that extra shot we need. Hopefully we’re going to be successful tomorrow.”

 

3. Feeling good

The Predators are healthy at the right time. They lost 303 man-games because of injury, illness or suspension during the regular season.

“We’re able to play six (defensemen), we’re rolling four lines,” coach John Hynes said. “We’re not banged up, we don’t have injuries, so we’re in good shape here. Guys are sacrificing and playing hard, but as far as depth and energy and being able to manage minutes for guys during these two games, we’re in good shape here.”

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg — Ryan Johansen — Matt Duchene

Eeli TolvanenMikael Granlund — Luke Kunin

Calle JarnkrokErik HaulaNick Cousins

Yakov TreninColton SissonsTanner Jeannot

Roman JosiAlexandre Carrier

Mattias EkholmRyan Ellis

Ben HarpurMatt Benning

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Mathieu Olivier, Erik Gudbranson, Rocco Grimaldi, Brad Richardson, Tyler Lewington, David Farrance, Michael McCarron, Jeremy Davies, Rem Pitlick, Dante Fabbro, Kasimir Kaskisuo

Injured: Viktor Arvidsson (upper body), Luca Sbisa (lower body), Mark Borowiecki (upper body)

 

Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei SvechnikovSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen

Nino NiederreiterVincent TrocheckMartin Necas

Warren FoegeleJordan StaalJesper Fast

Jordan MartinookSteven LorentzBrock McGinn

Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton

Brady SkjeiBrett Pesce

Jake BeanJani Hakanpaa

Alex Nedeljkovic

Petr Mrazek

Scratched: Morgan Geekie, Jake Gardiner, Maxime Lajoie, Max McCormick, Drew Shore, Ryan Suzuki, Roland McKeown, James Reimer

Injured: Cedric Paquette (lower body)

 

Status report

If Slavin is ruled out, Lajoie, a defenseman, will enter the lineup.

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