It’s no secret the Nashville Predators best chance of making a deep playoff run is with goaltender Juuse Saros between the pipes.
Saros, who’s been out since Apr. 26 with a lower-body injury he suffered against the Calgary Flames, traveled with the team to Colorado for Games 1 and 2 and has been working with the team’s medical staff.
While initial reports indicated Saros could miss up to six weeks with a high-ankle sprain, Predators coach John Hynes seems cautiously optimistic that Saros could return during one of the next two games at Bridgestone Arena.
“There’s a possibility [Saros plays in the series],” Hynes said Thursday before Game 2. “That’s still a work in progress. I wouldn’t rule it out at this point.”
Skated on Wednesday after the team practice concluded at Ball Arena, Saros was presumably testing how much weight he could put on his injured ankle and feeling out how much the injury limits him mobility-wise.
Saros won the second-most games during the regular season (38), and he ranked third in shutouts (4), fourth in save percentage (.918) and fifth in goals-against average (2.64). He also started the most games (67) and played the most minutes (3,931:23) of any goalie this season.
In his absence, the Predators turned to David Rittich to start Game 1 and Connor Ingram Game 2. Rittich was pulled 15 minutes in Tuesday’s 7-2 loss after allowing five goals on 13 shots. His .615 save percentage is the lowest in any playoff game for a starting goalie in NHL history.
Ingram had a 49-save performance in Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss and saved 30 of 32 shots Tuesday in relief. He likely remains Nashville’s starter with Saros out.
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