Johansson was hurt in the first period of Game 3 on Thursday, when he approached the net and appeared to trip on the puck with Golden Knights forward William Karlsson in tight pursuit.
Johansson’s left side crashed into the goalpost, dislodging it from the mooring and forcing him out of the game. The 30-year-old Johansson, in his first season with the Wild, was doubled over in pain as he slowly left the ice.
Coach Dean Evason confirmed the injury Friday.
“He’s a big part of our team. Obviously we lose his speed factor. A veteran presence. So yeah, he’ll be missed,” Evason said. “But we’re expecting when we put people into our lineup that they’ll be able to hopefully provide us with some of the stuff that Jojo provides us.”
The obvious replacement for Johansson would be Zach Parise, the 36-year-old left winger with 35 career playoff goals who fell out of the lineup down the stretch and has been a healthy scratch in each of the first three games against Vegas. Evason declined to reveal his pick for Game 4 on Saturday night. The Golden Knights lead the best-of-seven first-round series 2-1 after a 5-2 win in Game 3.
“We’re going to chat about different options and hopefully make the right decisions going forward,” Evason said.
Matt Boldy, the Wild’s first-round draft pick in 2019 who has been skating with the team’s taxi squad, might also receive consideration.
“All the players that are here and are available to us are here for a reason. They can play,” Evason said. “We brought them here with the opportunity that, if people get hurt or situation, that we play them.”
Parise, who is in his ninth season with the Wild on a 13-year, $98 million contract, dropped on the depth chart at left wing behind Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala, the team’s top two scorers, with Jordan Greenway and Nick Bonino also playing integral roles. If Parise plays, Bonino could move to right wing to fill Johansson’s spot.
Johansson, who will be a free agent after the season, had six goals and eight assists in 36 games for Minnesota after arriving in a trade that sent center Eric Staal to Buffalo. Johansson has significant experience at center but has played mostly on the wing with the Wild.