ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Nashville Predators already face a daunting challenge when they attempt to take control of the Western Conference finals in a pivotal Game 5 on the road.
Without Ryan Johansen, that task is immeasurably tougher.
The star Nashville center will miss the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs after emergency surgery on a left thigh injury, abruptly leaving the Predators without their leading scorer when they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
The Predators announced the injury Friday after the rest of the club traveled to Anaheim. Johansen was hurt at an unspecified point in the Ducks' 3-2 overtime victory Thursday in Game 4, which evened a tense, physical series .
Johansen leads the Predators with 13 points in 14 playoff games while centering their top line with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson. The smooth center has played a major role in Nashville's transformation into a serious Stanley Cup contender ever since his arrival in a high-profile trade with Columbus in January 2016.
Just two wins away from their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the Predators now must figure out how to beat a playoff-tested opponent with no help from their top playmaker -- and perhaps without captain Mike Fisher, another possibly injured center (see full story).
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Sharks: Shoulder surgery for Ward
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward had surgery on his injured right shoulder and is expected to be completely healed for the start of next season.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Friday that Ward had dealt with a minor shoulder injury during the season and recently opted for surgery instead of rehab.
Wilson made his announcement a day after Ward appeared at an Oakland Athletics baseball game with a sling on his injured arm.
Ward had a significant drop in production in his second season with the Sharks. He finished with 10 goals and 19 assists a year after recording 21 goals with 22 assists.