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Injured Ryan Johansen Finding it Easy to Watch Preds

Johansen, Who Suffered Season-Ending Injury, Has Enjoyed Watching Preds Depth Help Deliver Big Wins

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

With the Stanley Cup Final shifting to Nashville, prior to the city hosting its first-ever pro sports championship, injured Predators center Ryan Johansen had the opportunity to address the media.

Johansen, who will miss the remainder of the playoffs following treatment for acute compartment syndrome of the left thigh, detailed what occurred on the night of his injury during Game Four of the Western Conference Final.

"The second period, the knee hit my leg," Johansen said from Bridgestone Arena on Thursday. "As it happened, I was just like, 'Oh, that's going to hurt in the morning.' It was kind of one of those.

"As the [third period] went along, by the time I was in overtime, I could barely stand up… I came off the ice, took my gear off right away. Went to the trainer's room, they were looking at it. It looked like a bad charley horse.

"I threw the ice on, took it off, walked to the shower. By the time I was done showering, putting on my underwear, I could barely stand up. My leg, it just felt like it was about to explode. It kept getting worse. I had to pop over to the hospital quick. They had to open me up."

The Preds won both contests immediately following Johansen's injury on May 18 to claim their first Western Conference title, and Johansen said he's enjoyed watching the team succeed - even in his absence - now that they've embarked on a run to the Stanley Cup Final as well.

Video: Injured Johansen has enjoyed watching run to Final

"Watching the [games], obviously I really want to be out there, just being a part of the team and stuff," Johansen said of being forced to watch from the sidelines. "It's been a lot easier than I thought. The identity and the character of our team, how we're built, it's been pretty easy to watch because, these guys, every time they're on the ice, they throw everything they've got. They're not going to stop for anything.

"As I've been sitting on the couch basically for the last two weeks, it's been really inspiring watching guys like Frederick Gaudreau, Austin Watson, Pontus Aberg, just elevating their games.

"As a team, you need guys stepping up. There's guys that can do it. As I'm watching our guys, knowing how resilient they are, how they're leaving it on the ice every shift and every game like they've done all year, it makes it a lot easier to watch, to believe and have confidence."

The Preds 24-year-old forward is expected to miss roughly the next two months as he recovers, but on Thursday, he was already walking without the aid of a crutch as he climbed the stage prior to his press conference.

Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Fiala, Johansen rally Nashville crowd

Johansen said his main focus right now, however, is the electric atmosphere he'll get to experience on Saturday when the Predators host Game Three of the Final.

"It was pretty cool," Johansen said of rallying the fans prior to Game Six of the Western Conference Final. "I had a couple people come up to me the day before my surgery. They were like: 'If you can get out of here in time, would you like to wave the towel?'

"I'm like, 'I'll be waving that towel. I'll be there.'

"I ended up having surgery the morning of that game. Actually came right from the hospital to the game, right up to the grandstand there where me and Kevin [Fiala] were waving the towel. I was pretty pumped just to be there with the guys that night, watch them get the job done in the Western Final. That was pretty cool."

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