BOSTON -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has been playing for nearly four weeks with two hairline fractures in his left heel, including through the six games of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Boston Bruins.
Karlsson told ESPN.com the truth of the injury after the Senators reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-2 win against the Bruins in Game 6. He said that he has been getting injections in his heel to remain on the ice.
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"This guy's a machine. That's what it is," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "To be able to play that many minutes and be that good defensively and offensively, that's where he's at right now. He's at such a high level, and I really, really liked him also on the bench [Sunday].
"He was really calm about what was happening. He can be a fiery guy and he's got some emotion, but I liked … he's really grown into somebody that knows when to use his emotion and when to keep it aside, and today was a perfect example of that. So I was really impressed."
Karlsson, the Senators captain, is a finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman. He apparently sustained the injury on March 28 against the Philadelphia Flyers while blocking a shot. He missed four of the final six games of the regular season because of the injury, and he sustained a second injury to his other foot against the Detroit Red Wings earlier this month.
He has played heavy minutes in the playoffs, including 41:51 in the Senators' double-overtime loss in Game 5 in Ottawa. He played 29:53 on Sunday.
"To see where this guy is right now, to see him this year throughout the year, just I think put the building blocks, one on top of the other, to become the guy, the player that he is now, the man that he is now, I'm real fortunate to have lived it and seen it," Boucher said. "I think everybody benefits from it."