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Senators' Karlsson healthy, ready to play in Game 1

by Chris Stevenson /

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson did not practice the past two days but will be ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, NHLN-US, TVA Sports).

"One hundred percent," Karlsson said.

Karlsson led the Senators in time on ice this season with an average of 27:15 per game. He was third in the League, behind Ryan Sutter of the Minnesota Wild (29:03) and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (28:59).

He often skipped morning skates or the few practices the Senators had down the stretch.

Karlsson said he's looking forward to facing the Canadiens in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The Senators won a First Round series against the Canadiens in five games in 2013.

He said he remembered a conversation with former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson about playing the Canadiens.

"It's going to be a fun experience," Karlsson said. "I had the privilege of playing them once before. I remember [Alfredsson] talking about how happy he was that he got the chance to play Montreal once in his career and how amazing it was.

"It's one of those things that's going to be tough, there's going to be a lot of pressure on both teams. There is going to be a lot of media and fans around. The cities are both going to be crazy."

There are going to be comparisons between Karlsson and Canadiens top defenseman P.K. Subban, who each have won the Norris Trophy in their young careers, but Karlsson said he can't let that be his focus.

Karlsson led NHL defensemen this season with 66 points; Subban was third with 60 points.

"It's not something I really think about," Karlsson said. "It's something you guys [the media] like to talk about, obviously. For me it's more about Ottawa Senators versus Montreal Canadiens. We both have great teams. We both have great goaltending. We both have great defense pairings and offensive power. It's going to be a great challenge for every player on the ice at all times."

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