Sports ‘Superhuman’ Erik Karlsson makes big plays at big times, drags Ottawa Senators to verge of second round

19:25  21 april  2017
19:25  21 april  2017 Source:   National Post

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Biggest Gains: Erik Karlsson . Full Coverage, Round One, Game Four : Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins. Battle of Ontario - Senators Take Control.

Already a two - time winner of the Norris Trophy, Erik Karlsson is having his best ever season for the the Ottawa Senators . He said the improvement has been “helping me defensively to get pucks out easier and not having to battle the big guys in front of the net.”

BOSTON — After the Ottawa Senators put the finishing touches on their 1-0 Game 4 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, the accolades were raining down on captain Erik Karlsson inside the dressing room.

Zack Smith labelled him “superhuman.” Kyle Turris and Mark Stone said Karlsson has no equals in the NHL.

“Again, 65 looks like the best player in the world right now,” said Stone, referring to all the simple plays and the big one Karlsson made, setting up Bobby Ryan at the side of the net with the slap-pass that resulted in the game’s only goal. “Again, he makes the big play for us.”

Truth be told, there hasn’t been all that much separating the Senators and Bruins. All four games have been one-goal decisions, two of them decided in overtime. A bounce here or there and the series could be deadlocked 2-2, or the Bruins could even be up 3-1.

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Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson (born 31 May 1990) is a Swedish professional ice hockey player who currently serves as captain of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected by the Senators in the first round (15th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Erik Karlsson Bio. Karlsson is a rare player who can change a game just by being in it. Karlsson 's speed, puck sense and passing are superb, and he has played heavy minutes yet proven to be durable and He was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the first round (No. 15) in the 2008 NHL Draft.

The Bruins’ Tuukka Rask was the better goalie in Game 1, but Craig Anderson had the upper hand in delivering the Game 4 shutout.

Jim Rogash / Getty Images

Then there’s the difference-maker named Karlsson. If he looked tentative in coming off his late-season foot injury in Game 1, that’s pretty much forgotten now.

He has at least one point in every game, five assists overall, with enough signature moments — see the Game 2 dance along the blue-line and setup for the Derick Brassard tap-in, the Game 3 Hail Mary pass to Mike Hoffman and Wednesday’s timely play to Ryan — to stand out in a series that has centred on defensive discipline.

“It’s what I’m paid to do,” Karlsson said, when asked about the big plays at big times.

Beyond the points, though, has been the maturity, recognizing when to take charge or sit back.

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The Ottawa Senators ' Erik Karlsson , seen fending off Dominic Moore in Game 3, has taken control of the series against the Boston Bruins. Zack Smith labelled him “ superhuman ”. “It’s what I’m paid to do,” Karlsson said, when asked about the big plays at big times .

According to Turris, Karlsson has also grown into his role as captain, understanding when to speak up.

“I feel he has really come into his own as a leader,” said Turris. “He’s a great captain. He knows when to say something and when to leave things. He has a real good feel for things.”

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

When told about Turris and Stone calling him the best player in the NHL, Karlsson simply smiled.

“That’s nice of them,” he said, pausing.

“I think that I’ve been doing my part for the most part of the year and in the playoffs here. And everyone else has being doing the same thing. In that, you allow yourself to be good individually, and that means you come together as a good team.

“I couldn’t do anything if I didn’t get the help and strong play from everyone else.”

Pressed on whether he carries the attitude that he wants to be, or needs to be, the best player on the ice, he once again deflected the question.

Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson named Norris Trophy finalists

  Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson named Norris Trophy finalists The NHL announced the three finalists for the Norris Trophy in 2016-17. The winner will be announced on June 21.This year’s finalists are: San Jose’s Brent Burns, Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.

BOSTON — Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson is not only a leading candidate for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s most outstanding defenseman, he’s also worthy of Hart “Every night he’s going to break the game open somehow, whether shooting or making plays like he did (Wednesday night).”

Effectively he has played as a fourth forward which explains his offensive totals and the big jump in goals against rates when he is on the ice. Posted in NHL, Ottawa Senators Tagged defensive performance, Erik Karlsson , Norris Trophy, Ottawa Senators , player evaluation.

“No, I play my game, I stay in the moment. I take it shift by shift. I always have and always will,” he said.

“If you’re going to win anything, not everyone is going to score goals, but you need everyone to make plays. Everyone has accepted that, especially this time of year. It’s small things that make a big difference.”

Jana Chytilova / Getty Images

With the Senators nursing their 1-0 lead and only a couple of minutes remaining Wednesday, the Bruins attempted to clear the puck around the boards in their own zone. Karlsson took two steps toward the puck, in what was shaping up to be a 50/50 gamble to the loose puck.

A year ago, Karlsson might have continued his charge ahead, wanting to make a play that might put the game out of reach. Instead, he pulled back, making the more conservative defensive decision, eliminating the possibility of an odd-man rush by the Bruins.

“He has always had that offence, always had that vision, always had that skill, but what he has done this year is that he has used it in the right moments for the right reasons,” said Senators coach Guy Boucher. “It’s not just inspiring guys by defending so well and paying the price at the right time defensively, but also managing his offensive game at the right time. That goes back to maturity. When your top guy is buying in, that will translate to the whole team.

“He has become something else in all aspects.”

With the Senators now in control of the series, with an opportunity to finish the Bruins off on Friday night, Karlsson faces another challenge of his leadership.

He has to show the way by taking away the Bruins’ hope.

What to watch for: Crosby and Ovechkin meet again .
The Western Conference kicked off Round 2 last night and now the Eastern Conference is taking its turn in the spotlight. These series feature one Canadian team, a goalie looking to finally win the Cup and the greatest rivalry of this generation.Lots to like. Here’s what to watch for on the second night of the second round. vs. Game 1, 7 p.m. ET, CBCThe Ottawa Senators welcome the New York Rangers in a showdown between arguably the two best Swedes currently playing in the NHL.For the Sens, Erik Karlsson has been unstoppable, and that should continue in this series.

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