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Erik Karlsson will return tonight

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

It's official.

Erik Karlsson will make his return to the lineup tonight when the Sens take on the Washington Capitals, just 10 weeks after he had his Achilles severed in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He'll take back his usual spot on the Sens' top D pairing with Marc Methot and should quarterback the power play alongside Sergei Gonchar.

The Senators believed Karlsson would be out for the duration of the season and playoffs after he had his leg cut against the Penguins, but after a lot of hard work and help from the Sens medical staff during his rehab, Karlsson will be making a (triumphant?) return to Ottawa's lineup well ahead of schedule.

Those who are wary of whether or not it is possible for Karlsson to return to his Norris Trophy winning form — he was being touted as a lock for his second in two years prior to the injury — needn't look further than Teemu Selanne who suffered an identical injury in his second season at 23 years of age. Yes, the same Teemu who is playing at 42 and has over 1400 points.

Karlsson will obviously have to shake off some heavy rust having not played for the better part of three months, but the boost he can bring to the team is hard to understate. Let's not forget there was legitimate debate over whether or not he was the best player in hockey prior to his injury. Even a rusty Karlsson will be a massive boost to this team as they search for the 'x' next to their name in the standings.

With respect to tonight, Karlsson has eight points in 11 career games against the Caps.

With respect to this final sprint to the finish line, buckle up kids. Things just got even more interesting.

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