Both Ryans jostled, roughed up and annoyed each other for much of the Ducks’ 5-3 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
It didn’t stop there.
Johansen, who took a high-sticking penalty on Kesler in the second period, didn’t hide what he thinks about Kesler’s play.
“He just blows my mind,” Johansen told reporters. “I don’t know what’s going through his head out there. His family and friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that.”
In Game 2, Johansen butted heads with Kesler on the opening faceoff. Later he took a high-sticking penalty on Kesler.
Though Kesler may have gotten under Johansen’s skin to a degree, the Nashville center has still been prolific with four points in two games this round. He also had a goal and an assist in Game 2. In that contest Kesler had one assist and was a plus-1. He has one point so far in the Western Conference Final.
“I think (Johansen) is playing unbelievable. You saw the first period, he was the best player on the ice by far and after that I think he was still playing well,” Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. “You can look at the statistics. He is showing up every category and I think he has been playing really well for the first two (games).”
Added Predators coach Peter Laviolette, “I think Ryan (Johansen) has been completely composed. The penalty that he took tonight was a faceoff where he was battling for a puck and the stick came up. I think it was accidental more than anything. And as far as his game, I’ve already answered that. I think he’s been excellent.”