If it ain’t broke…
We’ll spare you the rest, but the cliche does appear to be appropriate for the Predators — after getting their first series win against the Sharks with Mike Ribeiro healthy scratched two nights ago, the Preds look as though they’ll keep Ribeiro in the press box for tonight’s pivotal Game 4 at Bridgestone.
Rookie Pontus Aberg made both his NHL and Stanley Cup playoff debut in the Game 3 victory in place of Ribeiro, getting just under nine minutes of ice time.
Preds head coach Peter Laviolette has stressed that this Sharks series is much different from the opening round against the Ducks. Anaheim presented a “heavier” challenge, whereas San Jose’s speed has proven to be an issue.
Aberg is a young, strong skater and gives the Preds more speed — but the move wasn’t just about Aberg.
Ribeiro has been a disappointment this postseason, with no goals and just one assist through nine games, with a minus-3 rating. He’s taken some bad penalties and his Corsi has dropped form 58 percent during the regular season to just 47 in the playoffs.
Part of the disappointment stems from the fact that, last year, Ribeiro had a really effective playoff. He scored five points in six games in an opening-round loss to Chicago, while averaging a whopping 23:22 TOI per night (inflated due to the number of overtimes played, but still.)
Nothing’s official for tonight’s game, and Laviolette could still reverse course and opt to put Ribeiro back in.
But for now, the veteran looks as though he’ll be eating popcorn.