Erik Karlsson misses third period, expected to play in Game 5

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Barring a historic comeback, the Ottawa Senators are going to lose Game 4 to the New York Rangers. That might not be their biggest loss from Thursday, though.

Erik Karlsson‘s been playing hurt – if not injured – during the playoffs, but things might have gotten too extreme for the all-world defenseman tonight.

Now, it’s not totally clear if he suffered a new injury or aggravated an old one, but either way, Karlsson sure seemed uncomfortable late in the second period. (See above.)

He hasn’t appeared in the final frame, a troubling sign for a Senators team that needs big plays and big minutes from Karlsson.

That seems like a lousy sign for Ottawa, but there’s at least some chance that Ottawa decided to give him an extra 20 minutes to heal up to fight another day.

Update: It sounds like the Senators were just playing it safe with Karlsson, though it also sounds like there’s some room for that to change.

Hey, the playoffs aren’t always … transparent.