Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, who played less than 11 minutes before suffering an upper-body injury in Thursday night's 6-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, was on the ice skating alone in the morning ahead of Sunday night's Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Facing elimination, the Predators are hoping Ellis will be able to play after he sustained an unspecified injury in the second period in Game 5 in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, he was on the ice about a half hour before the optional morning skate but did not skate or shoot the puck at full speed.
The defending champion Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can become the first team to repeat since Detroit in 1998 if they can win at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena in Game 6.
Ellis, 26, appeared to be testing his injury to see if he would be able to play through it. He plays on the Predators' top defensive pair with Roman Josi.
Ellis ranks third in the league among defensemen in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 21 games, and his five goals rank second among defensemen behind Josi's six. Ellis also ranks fourth on the Predators during the playoffs in average ice time per game (23:23).
"We fully expect Ryan to play," defenseman Matt Irwin said. "As of right now, that's the way we're looking at it, and after that I think any of us are comfortable playing with anyone no matter how it shapes up. So we'll just go from there."
If Ellis is unable to play, Irwin would likely move up from the third pair to his spot in the top four and play alongside Josi.