NASHVILLE, TN – Count Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes among the many who were surprised it took Ryan Johansen 774 games to record his first-ever hat trick.
But as Johansen found himself with the puck behind the Minnesota Wild defense with nothing but an empty net in front of him with less than 10 seconds left in the final period Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, the wait was finally over.
“You can see it on the bench, [Johansen] is the best teammate, he’s the greatest guy, so the whole bench was so excited for him,” Predators captain Roman Josi said. “He’s such an amazing team player. He brings it every night for us. He cares about his teammates.”
Johansen’s career game got him to the 20-goal mark for the first time since the 2014-15 season. It’s the third time in his 11-year career that he has scored 20 or more goals in a single season, and his first as a member of the Predators.