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Juuse Saros

The Nashville Predators have gone as goaltender Juuse Saros has gone this season.

But unfortunately, the team will be without his services for at least Games 1 and 2 of its first-round playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday and Thursday.

The extent of the 26-year-old’s injury isn’t known, and the organization hasn’t released any information other than Saros' initial lower-body injury diagnosis.

“He’s doing his rehab, ... getting better,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “He’s around the team. Obviously, you have to do different things whether you’re skating in a medical skate that’s separated from other guys at different times of the day. He’s in all of our team meetings. He’s preparing himself mentally to make sure ... he’s going to be ready to go. 

“That’s why he’s on the trip ... and working hard in his rehab," Hynes added. "We’re just trying to do the best job that we can to provide him with the opportunity to get better and he’s taking advantage of it.”

Saros led the NHL in starts (67) and minutes played (3,931:23), and he ranked second in wins (38), fourth in save percentage (.918), and fifth in goals-against average (2.64) among goalies to play in 50 or more games.

“He’s been a real strong backbone of our team,” Hynes added. “He’s one of the elite goalies in the league and he gives you a chance to win every night.”

Reportedly, Saros could be out several weeks with a high-ankle sprain. If true, he would miss the entire series against Colorado and his status for a potential second-round series against either Minnesota or St. Louis would be in question as well.

Shutting him down for the rest of the playoffs might be the best course of action long-term.

The Predators are the largest underdog of any of the eight first-round playoff series, according to BetOnline. And they stand to gain very little from playing Saros if he’s less than 100 percent. 

Even if he were healthy, unseating No. 1-seeded Colorado would still be an uphill battle.

The Avalanche collected the second-most wins (56) and points (119) in the NHL this season, and they scored the third-most goals (312). Oh, and they’re getting back captain Gabriel Landeskog, one of the team’s three 30-goal scorers who hasn’t played a game since March 10.

In the net, the Predators will roll the dice with the tandem of David Rittich and rookie Connor Ingram for at least the first two games of the Colorado series. No starter has been named yet for Game 1.

Rittich, who’s 6-3-4 with a 3.57 goals-against average and .886 save percentage, had a 42-save win over the Avalanche last Thursday, but has been wildly inconsistent throughout the year.

Ingram has a 1-2-0 record in three NHL starts with a 3.17 goals-against average and .879 save percentage. He squandered a 4-0 lead in the Predators’ regular season finale, a 5-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_