From the eyes of those that were there, it looks like Ryan Ellis may indeed miss tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ryan Ellis is usually the first player on the ice for #Preds morning skate. He is not today.— Robby Stanley (@RStanley247) October 20, 2015
Ellis blocked a shot with his knee during Saturday's game against the Ottawa Senators. He left the game and didn't return, and wasn't on the ice for practice yesterday. He's considered day-to-day, but that puck probably left a massive welt at the very least. At this point, it's best to consider him out of the lineup until Peter Laviolette says otherwise.
Speaking of missing practice, Austin Watson and Barret Jackman missed yesterday's for what the team called "maintenance days." Presumably they were getting their brakes tightened or their alignment in order. They both returned today.
The forward lines looked almost identical, except Viktor Arvidsson found himself back on the third line.
Predators AM lines vs. TB: Forsberg-Fisher-Neal Wilson-Ribeiro-Smith Arvidsson-Hodgson-Jarnkrok Nystrom-Gaustad-Bourque— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 20, 2015
But with the absence of Ellis, the defense got a shake up... and a curious one at that.
#Preds D pairings at morning skate have been: Josi-Weber and Ekholm-Jones. Jackman has been with Watson. Bitetto/Bartley paired together— Robby Stanley (@RStanley247) October 20, 2015
That would make Watson a hell of a utility player. My guess? Watson is the scratch tonight over Arvidsson and was just getting some extra time. It's a little odd that Victor Bartley and Anthony Bitetto are paired together, rather than with someone they would be skating with. Only one of them is going to get the call:
Bartley leading stretches at #Preds morning skate...— Robby Stanley (@RStanley247) October 20, 2015
Victor Bartley said that he's in tonight.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 20, 2015
Really though, a couple of practice drills won't make or break the chemistry of a defensive pairing. Whether Jackman or Ellis plays with Bartley or Bitetto, won't matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Robby Stanley and Adam Vingan both reported that Ellis was walking around the locker room and looked fine. That's great news, especially when you consider how much damage a puck can do.
Ryan Ellis just walked through the locker room. No noticeable limp or anything. Walking fine.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 20, 2015
On the other side of the ice, it sure looks like Victor Heman is going to be in the lineup for the Bolts.
Hedman on ice for morning skate. Would be shocked if he didn't play. Has to, with only six active defensemen.— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) October 20, 2015
Nashville was at their almost best on Thursday (despite the score), and was flip-flopping between good and just okay on Saturday. Back home against a tough opponent should have the makings of an enthusiastic group of players. Let's hope for maximum firepower tonight.