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Ryan Johansen: ‘My leg felt like it was about to explode’

The Predators will be without their top centerman, Ryan Johansen, after undergoing thigh surgery following Game 4. The loss makes Nashville "huge underdogs" in the tied Western Conference Final.

With the Stanley Cup Final heading back to Nashville, Predators’ center Ryan Johansen shed some light on the injury that knocked him out of the playoffs last round.

Johansen was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome following Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, forcing him to undergo emergency surgery on his thigh. The timeline for a comeback is two-to-three months, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

The injury started to develop after a hit in the second period of that game. By the time the game moved to overtime, he said, he could barely stand up.

He then went into further detail about what occurred immediately following the game, as the injury continued to worsen.

“Came off the ice, took my gear off right away. Went to the trainer’s room, they were looking at it. Looked like a bad charley horse. I was told right away, ‘Throw some ice on it, bend the leg a little bit, go about our business from there,’” said Johansen.

“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. Obviously, you know, I had to pop over to the hospital quick. They had to open me up.”

The Predators go back home for Games 3 and 4 of the series, trailing the Penguins 2-0, despite carrying the play for large portions of both contests in Pittsburgh. For the first time in these playoffs, Nashville is behind in a series.

Read more: Minus Johansen, Predators have ‘some big shoes’ to fill

With Johansen out, Colton Sissons stepped in to help fill the void as the Predators closed out the Ducks, recording a hat trick in the decisive game.

The Penguins, though, have been able to win twice thanks to the play of goalie Matt Murray, and sudden and timely goal scoring in the third periods at home. Pekka Rinne has gone from a Conn Smythe Trophy favorite to a shocking .778 save percentage after two forgettable performances in the final. Nahville’s coach Peter Laviolette isn’t publicly sharing who his starting goalie will be in Game 3.

Going back home, P.K. Subban has guaranteed a Preds win on Saturday. He has since doubled down on that.

Naturally, Johansen tried to stay positive with his message, even with his team down in the series and in desperate need of a win.

“As I know, they’re going to throw everything,” he said. “It’s going to be their absolute best effort. I can count on that from those guys, and the rest of the team can count on.”