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Sharks add size, experience to lineup with Zubrus

Veteran forward to make 2016 Stanley Cup Playoff debut in Game 5 against Nashville

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent


Western Conference Second Round

Best-of-7 series tied 2-2

TV: 10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

SAN JOSE -- After using the same lineup for the first nine games of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer will make a change for Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Nashville Predators at SAP Center on Saturday.

Veteran forward Dainius Zubrus will move into the lineup for San Jose, and Tommy Wingels, who has one empty-net goal in nine games, will be a healthy scratch.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 after Nashville's 4-3 triple-overtime victory in Game 4 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

"Whenever you're pulling a guy out, [performance] is always an issue or a factor," DeBoer said Saturday. "Not that he was poor. There were a few guys we could have considered in that decision. I think the other factor that went into it was more the fact what Zubrus would bring. He's fresh, he's healthy, he didn't just play six periods and fly across the country. He's a big body (6-foot-5, 225 pounds). I don't think we've been inside of their net enough."

Zubrus has played in 92 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and played in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils, who were coached by DeBoer. Game 6 of the Cup Final was Zubrus' last playoff game.

"It's been a while since I played in the playoffs, so it's going to be an exciting time," Zubrus said after San Jose's optional skate.

Zubrus said he'll try to play the same physical and defensively responsible game he played during the regular season.

"I'll try to get on the forecheck, play in their end as much as we can, get in front of the net," Zubrus said. "They have good [defensemen], good strong [defensemen], but you got to battle through and get to the front of the net and hopefully get some pucks there. Make it as hard as you can on their goalie."

Predators coach Peter Laviolette declined to reveal any possible lineup changes he might make for Game 5.

One option would be to return veteran Mike Ribeiro to the lineup. Ribeiro was a healthy scratch the past two games. He was replaced by rookie Pontus Aberg, but he played eight shifts totaling 4:59 in Game 4.

Ribeiro had 50 points in 81 regular-season games but has one point, an assist, in nine playoff games.

Predators forward Mike Fisher said he is sure Ribeiro will be ready whenever he gets the chance to play again.

"He's a big part of this team, and when he's at his best he makes a huge difference out there," Fisher said. "We'll see what happens. We know he can be a game-changer."

Here are the projected lineups:


Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Craig Smith

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - James Neal

Pontus Aberg - Calle Jarnkrok - Viktor Arvidsson

Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Colton Sissons

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

Barret Jackman - Anthony Bitetto

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Injured: Gabriel Bourque (upper body), Cody Bass (lower body)

Scratched: Mike Ribeiro, Eric Nystrom, Austin Watson, Petter Granberg


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Joel Ward

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Melker Karlsson

Nick Spaling - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Injured: None

Scratched: Tommy Wingels, Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson

Status update: The Predators didn't practice Friday and stayed off the ice Saturday morning, trying to get as much rest as possible. "We had a good day of rest yesterday and this morning too," said Nashville defenseman Roman Josi, who a game-high played 49:42 in Game 4. "We're ready to go." ... San Jose had an optional morning skate, and most of the Sharks were on the ice for at least a few minutes. "I'm grimacing a little bit, but these guys, they're consummate pros," DeBoer said. "Their preparation, they take a ton of pride in it. They have some routines to do to make them feel good." ... Since being reunited in Game 4, the Predators' line of Fisher, Neal and Wilson has combined for six goals and four assists. Defenseman Paul Martin said the Sharks have to make sure they ramp up their defense against the Fisher line and have bodies around the net.

Who's hot: Wilson has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak. ... Fisher has three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak. He scored two goals in Game 4, including the game-winner. ... Burns had two goals in Game 4 and leads the Sharks in the playoffs with 13 points. ... Couture is tied for third in the League with 12 points. He has three goals and three assists four games against the Predators.

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