With the dynamic winger healed up and back on his line, Johansen put together a stellar three-assist performance as the Nashville Predators dismantled the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-0 on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.
“I could talk for days about him,” Johansen said of Forsberg. “It was really nice having him back. He makes me and Arvi a lot more deadly with him on our side. We had a lot of fun out there tonight supporting each other and outworking our opponents and getting some results too and finding the back of the net. It was a fun night.”
Johansen’s night looked like it started with a bang as he put a wrist shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick early in the first period. However, Los Angeles challenged for goaltender interference and the goal was waved off.
The call clearly didn’t slow the Predators down, as they were able to put the real first tally of the game on the board with a Craig Smith goal on an assist from Johansen at 10:02 of the first period.
Johansen later added secondary assists on Forsberg’s power-play goal in the first and on Viktor Arvidsson’s score midway through the third period to make the score 5-0.
The star center was happy with the way his team responded after the early waved-off goal.
“I was really upset by that. That was frustrating,” Johansen joked about the call. “No, it is what it is. You stay focused and you understand that it’s a call made and you have to just focus on your next shift and keep repeating the way you want to play and the way you need to play shift after shift and I thought our club responded really well and did a good job of that.”
Johansen played tonight’s game with a little extra emotion as well. Last night, he visited a diehard Predators fan named Reid who is in the hospital battling Leukemia. He and some of his teammates continued their support for Reid during the game by wearing bracelets that read “Team Reid #NeverStopFighting.”
According to Johansen, that kind of relationship is incredibly important to him.
“That’s what it’s all about for me and for everyone in this room, to be able to put a smile on a guy’s face like that,” he said. “I got the privilege of meeting him yesterday and give him a little bit of encouragement from my side and for how much he supports us, it was a very easy decision to head over after practice and go and visit him. I’m wishing him all the best right now and we’re definitely thinking of him down here.”
Despite not finding the back of the net on any goals that counted on Thursday, Johansen still managed to put up three shots on goal and was also on the ice for 14 shot attempts, according to Natural Stat Trick.
“There’s always conversations about things that players can do better,” said Predators head coach Peter Laviolette Certainly, I think shooting for Ryan is a good thing. It brings the puck to the net and good things happen. It’s something that we talk about.”
For the first time all season, the Predators did not have a single injury to list on the pregame injury report. With a full metal jacket of players in the fold, now is the time to turn on the jets and get ready for the playoffs.
“When we’re all playing on the same page like we were tonight and playing within our system and going out there and executing our gameplan really well we’re a dangerous club,” Johansen said. “It’s exciting for us because we’re super anxious to hopefully let these couple months fly by as fast as possible and play for that Cup again. We understand that we have to take it day by day and keep approaching every game and practice the way we approached the game tonight and we’ll be successful for sure.”
The Predators get back on the ice to take on the New York Rangers this Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.