ANAHEIM, Calif. — If the Nashville Predators are going to advance to the Stanley Cup final, they will have to do so without their leading scorer.
Ryan Johansen suffered a left thigh injury during Thursday night’s overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks and underwent emergency surgery after Game 4. He will not return to the playoffs and is expected to require two-to-three months of recovery time.
. update on Ryan Johansen.
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL)
This is obviously a huge blow to the Predators, who are tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven Western Conference final.
Johansen was the team’s leading scorer, with three goals and 13 point in 14 games. Playing on a top line with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, the trio had combined for 12 goals in the playoffs. As a result, the No. 1 centre skated around with a target on his back.
Johansen had openly complained about the extra attention he had been receiving from Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, saying after Game 2 that the Ducks centre constantly crosses the line.
“I mean he just blows my mind,” Johansen had said of Kesler. “I don’t know what’s going through his head over there. But like, his family and friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game, so I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey and it sucks when you gotta pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”
Though it was not immediately known how Johansen was hurt, footage from Game 4 showed him labouring to the bench after being checked into the boards by Anaheim defenceman Josh Manson.
Either way, the Predators will be challenged without Johansen’s services.
“He’s one of the best centremen in the game right now,” P.K. Subban had said of Johansen. “He competes every shift and he’s a big part of our team and a leader up front in terms of how he plays a 200-foot game. He’s really valuable to our hockey club and he brings that leadership up front. We’re going to need that to continue.”
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