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Erik Karlsson OK to start playoffs with Senators

Defenseman sitting out final games of regular season with foot injury @NHLdotcom

Defenseman Erik Karlsson is expected to be available when the Ottawa Senators begin the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week, general manager Pierre Dorion said Friday.

Karlsson, Ottawa's captain, is not expected to play the final two games of the regular season on Saturday and Sunday, which would make three games missed after he injured his right foot Tuesday.

"Most likely Erik will not play until the end of the regular season," Dorion said. "If tomorrow was Game 1 of the playoffs … he would be playing."

Ottawa clinched its playoff berth Thursday with a 2-1 shootout win at the Boston Bruins. The Senators (43-27-10) are second in the Atlantic Division and will play either the Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference First Round.

Video: DET@OTT: Karlsson goes top shelf from a sharp angle

Ottawa hosts the New York Rangers on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, RDS, MSG, NHL.TV) and visits the New York Islanders on Sunday.

Karlsson leads the Senators with 71 points (17 goals, 54 assists); he's second among NHL defensemen to Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks (75 points; 29 goals, 46 assists).

Dorion said injured forward Bobby Ryan (upper body) and defenseman Marc Methot (finger) also won't play the final two games of the regular season "but we're very hopeful that they'll be back for the playoffs."

Dorion said forwards Zack Smith and Viktor Stalberg are OK to play, which would put Ottawa close to full strength when the postseason begins.

"That would be the first time in a very long time for the Ottawa Senators that everyone would be available," Dorion said. "I think that just gives [coach Guy Boucher] as many options as possible, and he can play around with his lines and do what he needs to do to field what he thinks would be the best team to help us win in the playoffs."

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