Erik Karlsson was given Friday off to rest, relax and get ready for Game 2 of the Senators' Eastern Conference quarter-final. He is, after all, a wanted man in the Big Apple. The Rangers promised to target the league's top-scoring blueliner coming into the series and they followed through in Game 1 Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The team that wins a playoff series is the one that makes the best adjustments between games — win or lose. To that end, the Senators must find a way to free up space for Karlsson to do damage. The NHL's top-scoring defenceman and Senators' point man on the power play — who had 78 points and was a plus-16 during the regular season — was held to three shots and finished minus-1 in the series opener as Ottawa went 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Coach Paul MacLean indicated he didn't feel Karlsson was at his best in Game 1 and that he has to step it up Saturday night. "I think there's things Erik can do to free himself up as well," said MacLean. "I don't think Erik skated as well as he has the ability to skate. The best thing he can do to help himself, and help his team, is to make sure when he does go on the ice, he skates." Defenceman Chris Phillips said there's nothing the Senators could really do to make life easier for Karlsson.
Karlsson needs room to roam
Ottawa Sun | Apr 14