Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ottawa D Karlsson Sparkles All the Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ottawa D Karlsson Sparkles All the Time

Article excerpt

It's not that the Penguins don't recognize - and respect - the problems players such as Kyle Turris, Craig Anderson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan, among others, could cause for them in the Eastern Conference final.

But they also realize Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson is a singular talent, capable of altering the course of a game - or a series - with a burst of individual excellence.

"I feel like every time we play them, he stands out," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "With how many minutes he plays and the way he works their power play and controls the game, he's always the guy who stands out when you watch them."

Karlsson is the Senators' leading scorer in the postseason, with two goals and 11 assists in 12 games, a reflection of his exceptional skating and puck skills.

"Obviously, he's a really good player," said Penguins right winger Patric Hornqvist, who has been on Swedish national teams with Karlsson. "He makes things happen from nothing."

Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz noted that Karlsson often creates odd-man rushes by joining the play, and that he "can skate himself and the team out of trouble."

While there is no obvious antidote to Karlsson's talent, the Penguins will attempt to limit the time he has to make plays.

"We have to make sure we're really hard on him and don't give him time and space," Hornqvist said.

The Penguins presumably will try to hit Karlsson whenever possible, but trying to play the body on him can be risky because of his skating and puck-moving ability.

"You have to make sure you don't go too hard on him," Hornqvist said. "Because, if you're running at him and he has time and space, he's going to move it and go by you."

INJURY UPDATES

Forward Carl Hagelin rejoined the Penguins for practice Friday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. He missed Game 7 Wednesday, as he has been battling what coach Mike Sullivan referred to as "some injuries."

Hagelin missed 22 games with a lower-body injury before returning in the middle of the Capitals series.

"Hagelin has been dealing with a lower-body injury here for some time," Sullivan said. "In our estimation, it was an opportunity for him to get a little bit more rest. …

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