I’ve loved how much Ryan Johansen has proven me wrong this season. He’s been overshadowed some due to the milestone seasons from Forsberg, Duchene and Josi, but Johansen has also had a huge bounce-back season.
Johansen crushed his Predators career-high in goals with 26, and his third-highest of his career going back to his Blue Jackets days.
What stands out even more is Johansen’s impact on the Predators’ top-ten power play, which he contributed 11 goals. By far a career-high, with his previous high being twice with Columbus.
Now, can Johansen avoid disappearing like he he’s been guilty of in th past? His impact on the power play can really tilt the scales more evenly in this series if he finds the back of the net at the same rate he did in the regular season.
You also can’t overlook the other impacts that Johansen has made this season including faceoff wins, hits, distributing the puck and just intangible leadership. He’s been outstanding this season, despite like Duchene, being left unprotected in the expansion draft.
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche Series Prediction
After dishing out my four x-factors that need to happen for the Predators to have a chance, I still have the Avalanche unfortunately winning in five games.
The Predators drew the absolutely worst first-round opponent they could’ve drawn. The Avalanche have too many weapons, are too deep, elite on the power play and have an underrated goaltender in Darcy Kuemper.
If Saros was playing, I’d give the Predators an extra game to go six. Without him, the scoring is going to come early and often from Colorado. Too much to handle for a Predators team that overperformed and proved virtually every expert wrong in their preseason predictions.
Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday night in Denver at 8:30 PM CT.