Nashville’s Stanley Cup chances were dealt a crushing blow on Friday.
Per Sportsnet, No. 1 center and leading scorer Ryan Johansen suffered a season-ending thigh injury during last night’s OT loss. The ailment will require surgery and 2-3 months of recovery following the procedure.
Update: Nashville released a statement confirming the initial Sportsnet report. The Preds added that Johansen underwent emergency surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and that the procedure was successful.
Johansen, 24, was averaging 20:46 TOI per night through 14 playoff games and, as mentioned, led all Preds with 13 points.
It’s unclear when Johansen’s injury occurred. He played nearly 28 minutes last night, his highest TOI of the playoffs, and was taking regular shifts in overtime, his last coming just before Corey Perry scored the winner midway through the extra session.
Prior to the injury, Johansen had been engaged in an ongoing battle with Anaheim center Ryan Kesler. He took Kesler to task after being hounded throughout Game 2.
“I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that,” Johansen said. “It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey and it sucks when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.”
With Johansen out, Nashville is facing some serious issues down the middle. Veteran center Mike Fisher left last night’s game with an undisclosed injury, and there’s been no update on his status. If Fisher joins Johansen on the sidelines, Calle Jarnkrok could be Nashville’s No. 1 center on Saturday night.