After missing their most recent game against the Boston Bruins, Erik Karlsson will be out of the Ottawa Senators’ lineup once again on Saturday afternoon when the team hosts the New York Rangers, coach Guy Boucher announced.
Along with Saturday’s game, Boucher also said that he does not anticipate having Karlsson available on Sunday for the regular season finale against the New York Islanders, even if playoff seeding is still at stake.
At this point the Senators know they have a playoff spot, but the only thing left to determine is where they finish in the standings. They currently occupy the No. 2 spot in the Atlantic Division which would give them home-ice advantage in the first round, but they sit just one point ahead of the Boston Bruins and three points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs. If the Senators lose both games it is possible they could not only lose home-ice in the first round, but also perhaps fall down as far as the second wild card spot (if Boston wins on Saturday and Toronto wins out) and get a first-round matchup with the Washington Capitals.
With 71 points in 77 games Karlsson is the Senators’ leading scorer for the fourth year in a row, something that is almost unprecedented for a defenseman.
He is also the second leading scorer among all defensemen in the NHL (14th among all players) and should once again be one of the top contenders for the Norris Trophy.
As much as the Senators would like to secure a higher playoff spot and avoid the wild card spot they can not risk further injury to Karlsson, because without him they really would not have much of a chance against anybody in the playoffs.