BOSTON — If there was any doubt Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson was the NHL’s best defensemen before his team’s first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Boston Bruins, there certainly wasn’t any after it.
Karlsson was the best player of the series, which the Senators wrapped Sunday with a 3-2 overtime win at TD Garden.
Ottawa’s top D-man tallied six assists in six games, and Game 5 was the only contest in which he didn’t post a single point. The Swedish blueliner also made several extraordinary plays, including this amazing saucer pass to set up a breakaway goal in Ottawa’s Game 3 victory.
If his on-ice play wasn’t brilliant enough, Karlsson also played the series with an injury.
Karlsson told ESPN’s Joe McDonald that he played through “two hairline fractures in his left heel.”
Karlsson logged a career-high 41:51 of ice time in a double-overtime Game 5 loss. He played another 29:53 on Sunday in the series-clinching Game 6. His workload and performance despite dealing with an injury drew plenty of praise from Senators coach Guy Boucher.
“This guy is a machine,” Boucher said of his captain. “To be able to play that many minutes and be that good defensively and offensively, that’s where he’s at right now. He plays at such a high level.”
Karlsson is one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy, which is given annually to the league’s most outstanding defenseman. Karlsson proved during the regular season and in this Round 1 series against the Bruins that he’s the clear favorite for the award.
Thumbnail photo via Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP