Nashville’s Mike Ribeiro caught Anaheim’s Corey Perry with a spear to the midsection during Game 4. The Predators winger was whistled for slashing, and he might be lucky his punishment wasn’t worse.
For the second consecutive game, the Predators were beaten handily on home ice. In Game 4, with a chance to take a 3-1 series lead, Nashville suffered a 4-1 loss, and the home team’s frustrations were never clearer than late in the second period when center Mike Ribeiro dropped Ducks winger Corey Perry with a spear to the midsection.
The shot by Ribeiro came with 11 seconds left in the second period as Perry chipped the puck towards the Nashville zone. As he tried to evade Ribeiro, Perry was sticked in the midsection, fell to the ice and the Predators pivot was whistled for slashing. Looking closer at the play, though, it seems Ribeiro may have gotten away with a clear spear on Perry:
Ribeiro argued the penalty while on his way to the box, but the call was an easy one for the officiating team and Ribeiro may have been lucky not to be handed more than a minor penalty for the infraction. And while the Ducks didn’t score on the man advantage, it did nothing to help the Predators’ cause.
It’s not likely Ribeiro will face suspension for jabbing Perry, but there’s definitely the possibility of a fine coming his way. Three players this season were fined for stick infractions, including $5,000 fines to Jason Chimera for a butt-end on Shayne Gostisbehere earlier this season and Brandon Prust for a spear on Brad Marchand.
The Predators are no doubt looking for more from Ribeiro in this series, but that doesn’t mean they want to see him take needless penalties. Nashville inked the 36-year-old center to a two-year, $7-million contract in the offseason with the hope he would replicate his 15-goal, 62-point season from 2014-15. That wasn’t the case during the regular season, and his zero points and three shots definitely aren’t what the Predators were looking for.