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Key lineup decisions that will swing Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs

Will the Predators stick with the same lineup that got them past the Avalanche in Round 1, or make some adjustments as they take on the Jets? Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanley Cup playoffs had some lopsided matchups in the opening round, but all four second-round series are so well-matched that one lineup decision could be enough to tilt them in one direction or another.

Whether it's the choice of injury replacements, depth players, the deployment of the special teams or which goalie to start, here is one key lineup decision each team is faced with in the second round.


Nashville Predators

Having a lot of forward depth gives the Predators resilience against injuries and suspensions, but it also makes for difficult decisions when everybody is available.

As it stands, Mike Fisher will most certainly center Nashville's fourth line, but there are some interesting choices about who should play on his wings. At the start of the first-round series with the Colorado Avalanche, Fisher played with Ryan Hartman and Miikka Salomaki. Once healthy, Calle Jarnkrok replaced Salomaki in the lineup, and veteran Scott Hartnell stepped in when Hartman was suspended for Game 6.

All four wingers are available for Game 1 against the Jets, as is prominent rookie Eeli Tolvanen, who played just three games with the team after spending the season with Jokerit Helsinki in the KHL. For that matter, the Predators also have Frederick Gaudreau, Harry Zolnierczyk and Brandon Bollig at their disposal.

According to each player's scoring rate, and the player's impact on the team's share of shot attempts, the best combination would be for Hartnell and Hartman to flank Fisher on the fourth line, although a case could also be made to for Jarnkrok.