Ottawa Senators Erik Karlsson Leaves Team Road Trip, Returns to Ottawa

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At the most critical point in the season, the Ottawa Senators have lost their top player. Erik Karlsson has been playing injured, and a blocked shot on Tuesday was enough to keep him out for both Thursdays game against Minnesota and tonight’s against Winnipeg. The exact nature of the injury itself hasn’t been specified, as the Sens are calling it a lower body injury.

The 26-year-old was sent back to Ottawa by the team on Saturday; in the middle of the team’s five game road trip. The trip still has two games left in it, including the one Saturday night. The team will play the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.  Coach Guy Boucher was not willing to rule Karlsson out of that game, though, saying it was possible that he could join the club in Detroit.

Ottawa Senators Lose Erik Karlsson

The Senators are in a big spot right now. They sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. The Toronto Maple Leafs are nipping on their heels, just two points back.  While the Sens are unlikely to miss the playoffs, they could be passed in the standings and lose their grip on homefield advantage in the first round.  That makes the loss of their top scorer and MVP even harder, on a team that was already injury-filled. Marc Methot, Chris Neil, and Zack Smith are also injured, with a handful of other players recently returning from injury.

Karlsson has had another season of success with Ottawa. He has 68 points in 75 games, a stat that ranks him second amongst all defensemen. Karlsson has spent most of the season playing alongside the defensively-strong Methot. One of the team’s best players in his own zone, Methot’s play style balanced out perfectly with Karlsson’s offensive style. Now that both players are out, the Senators are losing a lot of their strength on both ends of the ice.

Jyrki Jokipakka made his Senators debut in Karlsson’s absence on Thursday.

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