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Erik Karlsson out for Senators against Bruins

Defenseman won't play because of lower-body injury

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson will not play in a crucial game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NESN, RDS, TSN5, NHL.TV) because of a lower-body injury.

Karlsson missed the final 14:23 of a 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday because of the injury; he scored the first goal in that game. The Senators are tied with the Bruins, who have clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth, for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Senators and Bruins lead the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point; Ottawa and Toronto each has one game in hand on Boston.

The Senators will clinch a playoff berth if they get at least one point against the Bruins. They'll also clinch if the Tampa Bay Lightning lose to the Maple Leafs and the New York Islanders lose to the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Anybody losing their top player, obviously, is a gigantic hole," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "But we've had games without Erik and we were playing it tight, and we've got to play the same way. Obviously you don't have the same breakout abilities, you don't have the same taking-the-rush abilities, the transition, the offensive zone and all that, and the power play.

"But I think as a team our game won't change. We're playing the same way. We're expecting our players to continue to buy in like they've bought in all year and have the consistency in our structure. So that doesn't change."

Video: OTT@DET: Karlsson nets PPG from below the goal line

Jyrki Jokipakka will take Karlsson's place in the lineup.

Boucher said Karlsson is day to day. He missed two games last week with the foot injury, but returned for back-to-back games against the Red Wings on Monday and Tuesday.

"He's our best player," defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "When you don't have him, you notice it. But the bottom line is you've got to go with who we've got, and you've got to make the most of it. Really, there's no other choice. The guys that are in, are in, and we're going to do everything that we can to give ourselves a chance at winning."

Boucher said he is not expecting defenseman Cody Ceci to play against the Bruins, though he did allow that, at best, he could be a game-time decision.

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