Ryan Ellis is out versus Blackhawks due to a lower-body injury

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The Nashville Predators will be without Ryan Ellis on their blue line when they host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.

The Predators are looking to further solidify third place in the Central Division, however the 26-year-old Ellis has been ruled out for this game because of a lower-body injury. P.A. Parenteau, acquired at the trade deadline, will also not play due to an upper-body injury.

According to Adam Vingan of The Tennessean, Anthony Bitetto is expected to take Ellis’ place in the lineup.

Tough news for the Predators. Ellis averages more than 24 minutes of ice time per game, used on both the penalty kill and power play while on pace for the most productive season of his NHL career, with 11 goals and 29 points in 56 games.

Despite a loss to Montreal on Thursday, the Predators have been able to string together some positive results with five wins in their last seven games, bolting into third in the division while the St. Louis Blues have fallen out of a playoff spot courtesy five straight defeats.

With a win tonight — obviously easier said than done considering Chicago has won six straight — the Predators can put eight points of separation between them and the Blues.