Predators ‘hopeful’ for Saros playoff return; Ovechkin out again

saros ovechkin
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Seeing Juuse Saros leave Tuesday’s game after a non-contact lower-body injury caused Nashville Predators fans to hold their breath and hope for the best. The team announced on Wednesday their No. 1 goaltender would miss the final two games of the regular season and no word yet on if he’ll be in net for Game 1 of their First Round series next week.

Appearing on Nashville’s 102.5 The Game Thursday morning, head coach John Hynes didn’t lay out a timeline for Saros to return, only saying he’s “hopeful” the netminder will be back soon.

“Right now, Juuse is still getting evaluated on what his time frame is going to be,” Hynes said. “We’re hopeful, but I think at this point in time it’s important for him to get a little bit of rest, let the thing settle down and then see where he goes from here over the next few days.”

The Predators finish up Thursday against Colorado and Friday against Arizona. David Rittich and Connor Ingram will split those games in net.

Nashville will end up in one of the two Western Wild Card spots and will face either the Avalanche or Calgary.

Ovechkin to miss second straight game

The Capitals still have a shot to pass the Penguins and take the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, setting up a First Round matchup against the Rangers. Washington needs to either win its final two games or win one and hope Pittsburgh loses to Columbus Friday night in regulation.

They’ll start that hunt Thursday without Alex Ovechkin as they face the Islanders at UBS Arena.

Ovechkin crashed into the boards during Sunday’s game against the Maple Leafs and suffered an upper-body injury. He sat out Tuesday against the Islanders but did skate Thursday morning.

“He had a good day today,” said Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette. “He won’t play tonight, but he had a good day today. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. That’s the best description I can give you, he had a good day out there. He moved well, he passed, he shot, skated, felt good. Tomorrow when we go to work, we’ll see where everything’s at at that point.”

Washington finishes up its regular season Friday against the Rangers.

Speaking during his weekly radio appearance in D.C., Laviolette said if Tuesday’s game was Game 1 of the playoffs Ovechkin would not have been able to play.

“I don’t believe it’s long-term,” Laviolette said. “So I think day to day is the right terminology. Alex is in there getting treatment and trying to get himself in a position where he can come back and help us.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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