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Lineups and Predictions: "Pain......"

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The whole shebang starts tonight. Let's see how Laviolette rolls out the lines for this important tilt against the Anaheim Ducks.

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Lineup for the Nashville Predators:

According to Adam Vingan of the Tennessean, the Predators will be rolling:

The Anaheim Ducks will have Gibson in goal and it is believed that Rakell and Perron will be on the ice tonight with Bieksa being a game-time decision. Follow @IcemanCometh and @AbbeyMastracco on Twitter for the latest with the Ducks, as they've been very coy about their injuries.

Predictions:

Having Ellis and Ekholm back together will be a blessing to watch. They play so well together in the shadow of the top defensive pairing. Both bring a ton of intensity to the game and can chip in offensively on 5v5 and the PP.

The addition of Cody Bass in the lineup is a head scratcher, but if Anaheim wants to bring the lumber, the Predators will have an answer. Leaving the top three lines alone is the best thing Laviolette could do since they have been building so much chemistry down the stretch. I expect Johansen to have a monster night and Forsberg to contribute also.

The biggest factor in the Predators success comes down to Pekka Rinne. That is a lot of pressure heaped upon the big man, but given how the Predators played last year in the playoffs, a few key saves could have sent the Red and Black Brigade packing and who knows how far the Predators could have gone.

This team is a much better offensive team than last year but they play a big opponent that has been exemplary on special teams this year leading the NHL in both categories. No playoff series is a pushover and this one will be a solid test to see if the Predators can hang with the bulkier playoff hardened teams out West.