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Karlsson out for Senators against Sabres, rest of season uncertain

Defenseman to decide if he plays in final two games

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Karlsson nabs puck at home finale

WPG@OTT: Karlsson grabs puck at end of last home game

Erik Karlsson reaches into the net to keep the puck after the final whistle of the Senators' home finale at Canadian Tire Centre

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Erik Karlsson will not play for the Ottawa Senators against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, TVAS, MSG-B, NHL.TV).

"I'm not expecting him the next games, but we'll see," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said Wednesday.

Karlsson remained in Ottawa to be with his wife, Melinda, and their family following the death of their son, Axel, which was announced March 20, but the Senators haven't ruled him out from joining them for the final two games of its season-ending, three-game trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday and the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

"I said since the beginning that it's going to be his call, and that's where it stands," Boucher said.

Video: Discussing Karlsson's future with the Senators

Karlsson is tied for fourth among NHL defensemen with 62 points (nine goals, 53 assists) in 71 games. He had three assists in a 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday, the final home game for Ottawa this season, and picked up the puck after the game ended.

The 27-year-old can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season and is eligible to sign a new contract July 1. There were rumors surrounding his future with the Senators before the NHL Trade Deadline passed Feb. 26, and he remained with Ottawa.

"I was down there and I saw [the puck] was in the net, so I just picked it up and decided to keep it," Karlsson said Monday, according to TSN. "I'm a social guy. I read a lot of things and I'm not reading too much into it, but obviously the word is out there [from the media]. It's not something I've thought about going into this game and it's not something I'm going to think about for a while."

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said during a conference call with season ticket holders March 23 that Ottawa will offer Karlsson a contract July 1.

"Erik is a fantastic player," Dorion said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "The relationship between he, [owner] Eugene [Melnyk] and myself is strong, and I want all of you to know that.

"When we can offer Erik a contract on July 1, we will do so."

The Senators have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention. They have 65 points, the second-fewest in the Eastern Conference, ahead of the Sabres (62).

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