ERIK KARLSSON MAKES ‘THE PASS’
The Ottawa Senators made an incredible run through the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, falling just one goal short of making the Stanley Cup final. The first indication that something special might be going on? Captain Erik Karlsson’s amazing pass to Mike Hoffman for a key goal in Game 3 of the Sens’ first-round series against Boston. Stretching from Ottawa’s goal line to Boston’s blueline, the pass caught Hoffman perfectly in stride and was so good it inspired scientific breakdowns of its trajectory.
Karlsson, who revealed during the playoffs that he had two hairline fractures in his foot, somehow continued to play elite hockey for the duration of the post-season. His 18 points led NHL blueliners, and he averaged more than 28 minutes of ice time per game. This was really just the capper to a season that saw the slick-skating Swede put a hold on the Norris Trophy and confirm that he was in the conversation as one of the best players in the world right now. But Karlsson wasn’t the only big story in Ottawa. Goaltender Craig Anderson pushed through the trauma of his wife’s cancer diagnosis, while left winger Clarke MacArthur knocked out the Bruins with an overtime dagger in Game 6. MacArthur had missed almost all of the past two seasons with concussions before playing the hero in that playoff game.