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Round 2

Senators expect Erik Karlsson to play Game 5 vs. Rangers

Ottawa defenseman missed third period of Game 4 with lower-body injury

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Correspondent

NEW YORK -- The Ottawa Senators expect to have defenseman Erik Karlsson in the lineup Saturday for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers at Canadian Tire Centre (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Karlsson did not play in the third period of Game 4 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, putting his availability for Game 5 in question. But before the Senators flew back to Ottawa on Friday, coach Guy Boucher said Karlsson should be ready to play.

 

[RELATED: Complete Senators-Rangers series coverage]

 

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 after the Rangers won twice in New York.

"I think he'll be there. Pretty sure," Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "If he's not, a huge blow to our team, that's for sure. … He's a huge part, I've said that before, and I think it was just precautionary."

Karlsson was involved in two collisions in the second period, one with Rangers forward J.T. Miller with 20 seconds left and one earlier with New York forward Chris Kreider, when Karlsson got tripped up. It was unclear which collision or hit might have caused the injury that caused him to leave the game.

After Game 4, Boucher said keeping Karlsson off the ice for the third period was precautionary.

"We felt it was better to keep him out after the second period," Boucher said. "He could have come back, but just wanted to make sure. He's got a lower-body injury."

Karlsson, who has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, has been playing with two hairline fractures in his foot, sustained when he blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 28, a fact he admitted after the first round against the Boston Bruins.

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