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Ribeiro said linemates might not know it, but they play a big role in how he quarterbacks plays on the ice. What he provides for linemates, Ward said, is plenty of space.

And while Ribeiro is working his magic, teammates don’t have to worry about being in the perfect spot.

“He dictates a lot of the play going up the ice. You’ve just got to fill in lanes when he’s got the puck,” Ward said. “You’ve just got to follow his lead a little bit. He knows when to turn it on and when to slow it down and he just reads it really well and just makes it easier to get up in the play and fill in holes.”

Looking at Ribeiro in isolation, he doesn’t exert too much effort, either. It’s a part of his game that often goes overlooked. But not to his coach.

“In today’s game, it’s very rare because the players are so programmed to skate hard all the time,” Oates said. “And Mike’s one of those guys in the league that knows how to change gears. It’s a very important thing.”

It’s impossible to overlook Ribeiro’s importance to the Caps. His presence relieves pressure from Backstrom and allows for more mixing and matching among top-six forwards.

Lately, Oates found chemistry by putting Ribeiro between Chimera and Ovechkin. A lot of combinations can work with Ribeiro’s skill-set, but this one in particular seemed to suit him well.

“He knows how to use my speed, he knows how to use Alex’s shot,” Chimera said. “So with him in the middle, I think he could use a good combination of our [skills]. Kind of use my speed when we needs to, and he’s good at spotting Ovi in the open places, too.”

And at spotting teammates on the power play. Ribeiro struggled in recent years when Dallas Stars teammates could finish on chances, but so far the Caps are taking advantage of his sharp passing.

“Sometimes I give the puck and [teammates] won’t score,” Ribeiro said. “But my thing, my job is to create those chances for those guys, and then at some point the puck will go in.”