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Preds Practice Ponderings: November 11

Ribeiro's Smart Passing Led to Neal's Slick Goal; Preds Give Thanks on Veteran's Day

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Not to take away from either of Calle Jarnkrok's goals on Thursday night against St. Louis - because they were both impressive in their own right - but Nashville's second goal, which proved to be the game-winner, is one Mike Ribeiro called the highlight of the night.

It was Ribeiro who found James Neal streaking to the Blues net at 3:44 of the third period, a duo that has connected on multiple occasions over the past few seasons. However, the manner in which Neal was able to deposit the puck into the net falls into an elite category.

First, Ribeiro had to be patient to even have a chance to get the puck to Neal, who was powering to the front of the net from the right wing. After carrying the puck into the zone, Ribeiro surveyed his options and knew he had to try to find a way to get a pass around the Blues defensemen clogging the middle of the ice.

Video: STL@NSH: Neal scores off Ribeiro's beautiful feed

"When I saw him the first time, he was flying up the ice there to get open, and I couldn't give it to him before that," Ribeiro said. "The lane wasn't there, and I was able to find that lane between the stick but couldn't put it really in a shooting position. I had to put it where the space was, and I was able to get it to home and he made a great goal that was pretty sick."

Once Neal received the pass in an awkward spot, he had only a split second to read and react to have a chance to get a shot off. But that's what elite goal scorers are able to do.

"He's such a good passer, so I knew he was going to look over for me and he found a way to get it to me," Neal said of Ribeiro. "It was in a little bit of a weird spot for me, so I had to find a way to choke down on my stick and handle the puck and was able to get it up as quick as I could. It was nice to see it go in."

"It's easier to pass the puck than score goals, and at that speed up tight like that, that was a goal-scorer's goal," Ribeiro said. "A lot of people would've tried to shoot right away, and for him to be able to, at full speed, cut his stick and then put it up, it's impressive."

Foes and Friends:

Neal's goal on Thursday came against former Preds goaltender Carter Hutton, who got the start in net for the Blues against his former mates for the first time. Hutton, who remains good friends with Neal, laughed before the contest saying that Neal is someone who may be able to find a way to beat him.

No. 18 proved that theory to be correct.

"Hutts is one of my good buddies, and we enjoyed having him here; he's a great team guy and just a great guy overall," Neal said. "It was good to see him get a chance in St. Louis, and seeing him last night, playing against him, he was, I'm sure, excited and fired up. He played great, but I was lucky enough to have a chance to beat him, so it was fun."

Veteran's Day Thanks:

As we thank those who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces to protect our country's freedoms on this Veteran's Day, the Preds took a moment to honor those brave men and women by sporting special camouflage jerseys during warmups of Thursday night's game, a small token of appreciation.

On Friday, forwards Craig Smith and Cody Bass had this to say about those who sacrifice for their country.

"There's a lot of people who couldn't imagine putting themselves in harm's way, so the people who do, it's a service that should be recognized more often than not, because that's the kind of courage this country was built off of," Smith said.

Added Bass: "I have a tremendous respect for the veterans in this country. I'm not even American, but I appreciate and am privileged to live in this country and have the freedom we do, and it's because of them… I play a game for a living, I play a game I love and I've been very fortunate so far in my life, and it's because of them. It all started with them, so for them to sacrifice their lives and the sacrifice their families give, it's absolutely amazing."

Practice Notes:

Friday's practice was optional. Among the participants were defenseman Anthony Bitetto (IR, upper-body), who has been skating with the team all week. Also making an appearance for the first time since being injured on Oct. 15 was forward Miikka Salomaki (IR, upper-body), skating in drills with his teammates.

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