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Predators vs Penguins Game 6 Projected Lineups

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The Preds will need all hands on deck to force a Game 7. Will Ryan Ellis’ hands be available?

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in probably three months, there are major questions about the defensive lineup for the Nashville Predators. With Ryan Ellis leaving Game 5 with an apparent injury and not returning, we still don’t quite know his status going into Game 6 tonight.

For the record, Ellis skated for about a half hour before the optional skate this morning. Watching him, it didn’t look he was 100%. He wasn’t taking slap shots and his speed was minimal. Looked like maybe he was just testing the waters to see what skating with full gear felt like.

Is that enough to say Ellis won’t play? No.

Is that enough to say he will play? No.

The speculation from around NHL media seems to suggest both possibilities are likely.

Getting the extra work is usually an indication you won’t be in the lineup. Then there’s this from Matt Irwin:

But also this from Roman Josi:

And if Ellis can’t play?

There was also some speculation that Harry Z might not play, though that was less concrete. So, here’s my guess on what could possibly be the last Predators lineup for the 2016-17 season:

Forwards

Pontus AbergColton SissonsFilip Forsberg

Viktor ArvidssonMike FisherJames Neal

Colin Wilson Calle JarnkrokCraig Smith

Harry ZolnierczykFrederick GaudreauAustin Watson

Defense

Mattias EkholmP.K. Subban

Roman Josi — Matt Irwin

Anthony BitettoYannick Weber

Goalie

Pekka Rinne

Having said all of that, they could always roll seven defensemen if Ellis does play. Replace Harry Z with Anthony Bitetto, play him for five minutes at the wing position (Victor Bartley did it) and if for whatever reason Ellis can’t continue then you roll the defensive pairs listed above.

As for the Penguins, I didn’t attend practice yesterday, so I will trust Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Here’s what we might see:

Forwards

Jake Guentzel — Sidney CrosbyConor Sheary

Scott WilsonEvgeni MalkinPhil Kessel

Chris Kunitz — Matt Cullen — Bryan Rust

Carl HagelinCarter Rowney — Patric Hornqvist

Defense

Trevor DaleyOlli Maatta

Brian DumoulinRon Hainsey

Ian ColeJustin Schultz

Goalie

Matt Murray