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It's Another Walk-Off, Ryan Johansen Wins Game in OT Again

Ryan Johansen Skates Right Off the Ice After Notching the Winning Goal for the Second-Straight Preseason Finale

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

He walked it off - again. 

For the second consecutive preseason, Ryan Johansen fired home the overtime winner in the preseason finale and skated right out of the rink. 

With the doors to the locker room in the corner of the ice at PNC Arena, the setup allows for a unique exit to stage left - if you have a good reason. 

Johansen has found one twice now. 

"You had to chuckle a little bit, though, didn't you? When he immediately went for the door again?" Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette laughed following the contest.

The 2-1 overtime win on Friday night wrapped up the Nashville Predators preseason slate with a 5-1-0 record, and a comeback victory in OT was the perfect way to close out the exhibition schedule. 

Tweet from @PredsNHL: Tonight���s walk-off 👋😂#Preds | #NSHvsCAR pic.twitter.com/6aU7V2wENa

"We got better as the game went on," Laviolette said. "The best was our third [period], just from a complete standpoint, and we were able to get it done in overtime. All in all, it was a good day,"

Prior to Friday's flight to Carolina, the Predators recalled eight players from Milwaukee - forwards Rem Pitlick, Anthony Richard, Eeli Tolvanen, Yakov Trenin and Josh Wilkins; defensemen Alexandre Carrier and Jeremy Davies; and goaltender Ken Appleby - and they all dressed in the contest.

Many of the rookies contributed to the victory - including a pass from defenseman Jeremy Davies to Johansen for the winner - and the reasoning for bringing them back was twofold.

"We're banged up a little bit - not to get into any details - but nothing that's too major," Laviolette said. "But at this point, you make it this far through training camp and you're coming into this game and the most important thing is that Opening Night. You're just trying to make sure that you're healthy to the best of your ability, and so these guys played well too. We sent them down, and you send guys down sometimes and it's difficult, but they played well and probably deserved another game, so we're happy to get it for them."

The first period was scoreless, but just 19 seconds into the middle frame, Jordan Staal converted on an odd-man rush and beat Juuse Saros to give Carolina a 1-0 lead.

However, the Predators penalty kill was a perfect 4-for-4 in the second period, including an admirable effort from Matt Irwin midway through the frame. The Nashville defenseman was out for the entire two-minute penalty - and then some afterward - blocking two shots and breaking up a dangerous pass right in front of his own net, which drew a standing ovation at the bench from his teammates.

Exactly three minutes into the third stanza, Anthony Richard used his speed to drive to the net on a partial breakaway, and he beat James Reimer to get the Preds on the board and tie the game at one. 

Saros continued to turn away the Hurricanes in the Nashville net, and late in the overtime session, Johansen ended it. 

"For sure, we should be feeling good about ourselves," Johansen said. "Obviously, it's preseason, and game one starts next Thursday, but we should be proud of the way we worked, the way we prepared all summer and be feeling pretty good about ourselves. We'll take these days now and get all polished up for the season."

Notes:

With Nashville's preseason schedule complete, the 2019-20 regular season comes next. Opening Night is set for Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. (CT) when the Preds host the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena. That starts a four-game homestand to open the season, with Detroit, San Jose and Washington on the docket.

The second annual PredsFest is set for Sunday afternoon at Bridgestone Arena and Walk of Fame park in downtown Nashville. The free event will feature Predators players, alumni, broadcast personalities and the unveiling of the brand-new shoulder patch logo for the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic jerseys the team will sport in Dallas. For a full schedule and more information, visit NashvillePredators.com/PredsFest.

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