By Josh Cooper, The Tennessean
Hal Gill may or may not be in the Nashville lineup. The big defenceman skated Friday morning - for a long time - during Nashville's practice. Gill said he was a game-time decision. Predators coach Barry Trotz said he didn't "expect" Gill to play. When asked if Gill was out, Trotz said, "yes." Still, this seemed anything but definitive.
Gill, who has missed every game this series with a "lower body" injury, has practised all week. All he would essentially need to do is play 10 minutes, which is more than Ryan Ellis or Jack Hillen have played in Gill's absence.
"We're looking at a lot of things. Can I play? Yeah. Can I play well? Well enough? I don't know. There's a lot of decisions that need to be made," Gill said. "There's a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration and we have a lot of good players that have been doing the job."
Key to Game 5
The key to this game will be the first 10 minutes of the contest. The Predators will try to feed off the crowd, while Detroit will try to stem their momentum by getting off to a fast start. The team that has scored first has won every game this series.
Last year, the Red Wings fell down 3-0 to the San Jose Sharks in the second round and almost came back to win the series, losing in Game 7.
"The key is not to think about having to win three games," Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart said. "You have to win one game to give yourself a chance to win the next one. That's really all you can think about at this point."
Elephant in the room
The elephant in the room involves defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom in what could be his final game of his career. The seven-time Norris Trophy winner is 41-years-old and hasn't played one second short-handed this entire series.
He suffered an ankle injury near the end of the regular season. Lidstrom has not indicated whether he is contemplating retirement.
"I think Nick Lindstrom retires when he thinks he's not a good player anymore, but I think he's been a pretty darn good player," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I don't know what could possibly be more fun than playing hockey at a high level on a great team."
Expected line Combinations
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Alexander Radulov
Gabriel Bourque - Nick Spaling - Patric Hornqvist
Craig Smith - Paul Gaustad - Brandon Yip
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi -- Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Jack Hillen
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Danny Cleary
Gustav Nyquist - Justin Abdelkader - Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Kyle Quincey - Jonathan Ericsson
Josh Cooper writes for the Tennessean. You can follow him @JoshuaCooper
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