After taking P.K. Subban off his foot in game two and battling through the rest of the game, Nick Bonino missed the Penguins 5-1 game three loss in the Stanley Cup Final.
Any hope the Pens had that the veteran forward and standout special teams performer could return for game four seemed to take a blow Monday when Bonino left the arena following the team's gameday skate on crutches and wearing a walking boot.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan says Bonino is officially "a gametime decision", but that seems unlikely given the visual evidence.
THE BIRTHDAY BOY
Predators captain Mike Fisher turned 37 Monday. The veteran center would like nothing more than to celebrate with a win in game four tonight.
Fisher was named captain last summer after the team traded Shea Weber to Montreal in exchange for P.K. Subban.
"It was a no brainer," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "He's the guy in our room with the most experience, most games played and leads everybody by example and by how he works."
The Preds would love nothing more than to see their leader hoist the Stanley Cup into the air some time over the next nine days. Game four will be pivotal in their quest to do that.
LIMITING THEIR STARS
The Predators did a remarkable job in game three holding Penguins' superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin without a shot.
Malkin scored goals in each of the two Penguins' victories in Pittsburgh, while Crosby has contributed three assists in the series.
While their shot total in game three is not completely telling of their performances, it was clear both Crosby and Malkin were frustrated towards the end of the game. The Preds expect both stars to try to push back with their play tonight.
"Just because they didn't register a shot on net, we shouldn't deem them ineffective in Game 3," Predators head coach Peter Laviolette said. "They made a lot of people very effective with the scoring opportunities that they created. That being said, because you guys have beat the drum on it enough, they're probably going to look to shoot the puck from all over tonight."
SPECIAL, SPECIAL TEAMS
The Predators have won the specialty teams battle through the first three games of this series, capitalizing on their own Power Play chances and shutting down the Penguins' Power Play unit.
Nashville was 2-3 with the man advantage in game three, scoring on a Roman Josi blast from the point in the second period that tied the game and a Mattias Ekholm shot late in the third. For the series, the Preds are now 4-10 with on their Power Play chances.
They've been even better on the penalty kill against the potent Penguins, stopping their last 12 chances dating back to game one. In fact, the Pens' only score on the Power Play came on a 5-on-3 advantage in game one.
"They've been special," forward James Neal said of the Predators' special teams. "Special teams win you games and can lose you games. Right now, everybody needs to step up when they're called on the Power Play or Penalty Kill and do their job."