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Predators' Ribeiro to face Sharks in 1,000th NHL game

Goalie Rinne to start for Nashville; Jones for San Jose

by Robby Stanley @RStanley247 / Correspondent

SHARKS (27-19-4) at PREDATORS (24-20-8)

TV: 8 p.m. ET; CSN-CA, FS-TN, NHL.TV 

NASHVILLE -- Forward Mike Ribeiro will become the 22nd active player to reach 1,000 NHL games played when the Nashville Predators face the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. 

Ribeiro will also become the 300th player in League history to play 1,000 games. 

"I think I thought about it at the beginning of the year and tried to figure out when it was going to happen, but today not that much," Ribeiro said. "I think I'm more concerned about winning the game. It'll be more fun if we win the game. If we don't, it doesn't really matter." 

Ribeiro began his career with the Montreal Canadiens in 1999 and has learned to adapt to the way the game has changed throughout his time in the League. 

"You need to be able to change," Ribeiro said. "The game changed so much since I started. There's a lot of new coaches. You need to adjust yourself to the systems and to the speed of the game or whatever else comes upon. Since I started, the game changed I guess I'll say every four or five years so you need to adjust yourself to that and learn the new [game]." 

Since joining the Predators, Ribeiro has 93 points in 134 games. Predators coach Peter Laviolette said his consistency has been one of the biggest reasons for his sustained success. 

"He's been able to produce for all 1,000 of them," Laviolette said. "He's an extremely talented player and not an easy thing to do, get to that 1,000-game mark. I think just his consistency in which he plays the game, one of the smartest offensive players that I've worked with. He sees the ice well, he slows it down and he has the ability to make other people better around him." 

The Predators are looking for more consistent production offensively and believe the best way to do that is to go to the front of the net. 

"We need more traffic," Ribeiro said. "We're a team that uses our points a lot and creates shots from the point, but to score goals I think we need more traffic in front of the net, more tips." 

The Sharks skated Saturday after taking Friday off following a 3-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.   

"When you're just traveling a lot and getting in at different times at night, it just makes it hard to get up and just bring a lot of fuel and energy," Sharks forward Joel Ward said. "I think it's just a good way to kind of restore and get as much rest as we possibly can and try to have as much energy for the games." 

One matchup to watch in the game Saturday will be the centermen. This will be the first time the Sharks have seen Ryan Johansen playing for the Predators. 

"He's a legit No. 1 center in the League," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "It gives them, when you go Johansen, Ribeiro, [Mike Fisher] and [Paul Gaustad], I mean that's four centermen that are as deep as anybody in the League. We like our depth up the middle too. It should be a good matchup." 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski  

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward 

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels  

Dainius Zubrus - Chris Tierney - Melker Karlsson  

Paul Martin - Brent Burns  

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun  

Brenden Dillon - Dylan DeMelo  

Martin Jones  

Alex Stalock  

Scratched: Mike Brown, Matt Tennyson  

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee) 


Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal  

Miikka Salomaki - Mike Fisher - Craig Smith  

Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Viktor Arvidsson  

Austin Watson - Paul Gaustad - Cody Bass  

Roman Josi - Shea Weber  

Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis  

Anthony Bitetto - Barret Jackman  

Pekka Rinne  

Carter Hutton  

Scratched: Petter Granberg  

Injured: Colin Wilson (lower body), Eric Nystrom (broken foot), Gabriel Bourque (upper body) 

Status report: Jones will start for the Sharks. … Rinne will start for the Predators. … Jarnkrok joined Johansen and Neal on Nashville's top line at the morning skate. 

Who's hot: Jones is 8-1-1 in his past 10 starts with a 1.97 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. … Johansen has 12 points in 12 games since joining the Predators. 

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