Senators pulled Erik Karlsson to save him for Game 6

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PITTSBURGH — Not only were the Ottawa Senators on the wrong end of a 7-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon, but they gave their fans a little bit of an additional scare when superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson did not play the final 25 minutes of the game.

It turns out, the Senators simply made the decision to rest their best player and not risk further injury in a game that was already well out of hand.

Karlsson has not quite been 100 percent this season and was playing with a fractured foot earlier in the playoffs.

Sunday’s decision to remove him from the game was similar to one the Senators made early in their second-round series against the New York Rangers.

“Everything is fine,” said Karlsson after the game when asked for an injury update.

“As you all know the score was not what we wanted. Not only with me, but we decided to shorten down the bench a bit and move on to the next game.”

Along with Karlsson, forward Derick Brassard and defenseman Cody Ceci also sat out the third period.

Boucher said all three players could have returned if needed, something that Karlsson also echoed after the game.

“Oh yeah, absolutely, that is not an issue,” said Karlsson. “Same as the Rangers series. Same mentality, same thing. Again I think we all just need to move on from this game pretty quick. Sometimes it’s wrong to say, but you would rather lose like this than an overtime or something like that. I don’t think we played the way we needed to to be in this game today, they certainly did. We know this is not acceptable and we have to move on.”

Karlsson has 15 points in 17 games for the Senators this postseason while playing more than 29 minutes per game. He has been arguably the best player in the entire league in the playoffs.

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