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Bout of food poisoning forces Predators to call up five players, change lineup

The Nashville Predators played their worst game of the season Friday, and it appears that could be due to a bout of food poisoning that is threatening to sideline several players on Saturday.

The injury report for the Nashville Predators could be a bizarre one Saturday night and the culprits aren’t upper-body or lower-body ailments. Rather, a bad batch of chicken soup. Seriously.

The morning after Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith were forced to leave the Predators’ 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville GM David Poile announced that several players are currently dealing with food poisoning just as the Predators get set for the second half of a back-to-back — and a meeting with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, no less.

“We've got a lot of guys that are sick right now," Poile said, according to the Tennessean’s Adam Vingan. "Everything was fine yesterday, and it all happened just before and then during the game and after the game and it's continuing today.”

Predators defenseman Roman Josi said that the players believed it was maybe a case of one player getting sick ahead of the game when the illness started, but players continued to get ill throughout the evening.

"We were going down pretty hard last night," James Neal said, according to Vingan. "I've never seen that many guys get sick.”

It’s probably unlikely that anyone in the Predators’ dressing room would blame Friday’s loss on the food poisoning, but it was far and away the worst game Nashville has played all season. The Predators were out-attempted 52-33 at 5-on-5, a Corsi percentage of 38.8 percent.

Nashville bench boss Peter Laviolette told Vingan that he wasn’t sure which players would and wouldn’t be able to make it to the game Saturday, and the Predators haven’t confirmed exactly who or how many players could be missing from the lineup. 

However, Vingan reported that Nashville has brought Austin Watson, Frederick Gaudreau, Harry Zolnierczyk and Trevor Smith up from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, and that could mean at least three lineup regulars are on the shelf. There’s also a possibility that either Pekka Rinne or Marek Mazanec could be sidelined, as Juuse Saros has also been brought up.

"I think we're trying to get a handle on it this morning here and move forward from there,” Laviolette said, according to Vingan. “I don't think that there's an exact plan right now. We'll have an exact plan at some point on what we're going to do, but right now it's a little unclear.”

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