One of the new faces in Nashville made an excellent defensive play that lead to the first goal for the Predators tonight. Just 3:17 into the first period, Mike Ribeiro stole the puck from a Tampa forward and flipped the puck to Filip Forsberg on the rush, who niftily buried it for the first goal of the game, and in the end, the game winner.
“I decided to press behind the net,” said Ribeiro. “I was able to pop the puck away from the forward and get it up to Filip who made a great move. I didn’t think he had much there and he was able to get around the goalie, so we’ll take that.”
Ribeiro seemed to find chemistry Thursday evening while working with James Neal and Forsberg against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Obviously it was our first game together, but the main thing was to try and create those turnovers like we did,” said Ribeiro. “That’s how we create offense; off turnovers. For the first game, I think we did well. Offensively, we didn’t play a lot in our zone and that’s what you want to do as a line.”
In the game, Ribeiro logged 18:39 on the ice, including 6:04 on the power play. While he did not register a shot on goal, his control of the puck was vital throughout the game.
“He’s a real skilled player in the league,” head coach Peter Laviolette said on Ribeiro. “He’s one of the top skills in the league and he’s proven that in his history. The puck just seems to stick to him sometimes. That’s why he’s here. We’re hoping he can bring that type of game.”
Something that Ribeiro has been working on while trying to refocus on his game is face-offs. Thursday night, he went six for seven for 46%. While not on the plus side, it’s something he’s continuing to work on. This is especially important as Ribeiro looks to be the number one center for the Predators.
“Every year you try to get better at things that you’re not the best at,” said Ribeiro. “It’s always been a struggle throughout the years. Face-offs are important. It’s a detailed game. I’m going to have to bear down on that and it’s something I’m going to work on.”
While logging 6:04 on the ice during the powerplay, Ribeiro saw time with the special teams stalwarts for Nashville, Weber and Josi. Ribeiro’s playmaking ability will be vital for the power play unit to convert this upcoming season.
“I think I was trying to find [Weber] a little too much,” said Ribeiro, jokingly. “I was just trying find his stick. A lot of us were thinking about positions. Once you think, it’s tough to make decisions. We just want to be automatic. We’ll keep practicing and keep it simple.”
It may be only one game into the preseason for Mike Ribeiro but what was seen Thursday night can certainly definitely be a bright spot for the future of the 2014-15 season for Predators fans.
Full interview below: