The Predators lost the services of forward Martin Erat on Wednesday night, during Game Four of their series against the Ducks, after he suffered an upper-body injury when he was hit late by Jarkko Ruutu. Erat left the game and didn't return and now there is word that Erat has not joined his teammates on the flight to Anaheim, just before Game Five.
For that late hit on Erat, Ruutu was given a 1-game suspension for his troubles. Ruutu has not figured much into the Ducks game in this first round and when he has been in the line-up, he has only been playing fourth line minutes. For Anaheim, this is a massive trade-off in their favour, especially if Erat cannot go any more in this series.
Erat is the Box 1 forward for the Predators this season and was picked once in the pool, while Ruutu is in Box 7 for the Ducks and was picked eight times. The impact of Ruutu missing Game Five almost has more impact than Erat missing the rest of this series, remarkably.