Toronto Star

Loss leaves Karlsson a little bitter Swede

Thunderous fan ovation during return to Ottawa, but Sharks get thumped


OTTAWA— Erik Karlsson enjoyed playing in front of the Ottawa fans again, but he wasn’t happy with his current team’s performanc­e.

Craig Anderson stopped 36 shots and Mikkel Boedker posted a four-point game with a goal and three assists as the Senators spoiled their former captain’s return on Saturday, beating San Jose 6-2 to hand the Sharks a fourth straight loss.

Karlsson was playing his first game in Ottawa since he was traded to San Jose in the offseason. The return was much anticipate­d.

“I had a lot of fun out there even though this was not a great game at all and I’m not happy by any means,” Karlsson said. “But it’s going to be nice to move on now here.”

The team honoured the twotime Norris Trophy winner with a video tribute during the first period.

“There’s a lot of good memories that I have from this rink,” said Karlsson, a native of Sweden. “I was drafted here, spent pretty much my entire career here so a lot of positive things. So it was fun to see and I was happy I was able to play in front of these guys again and these fans and everything. They did a good job and I thank them for that. It was very kind of them.”

The Senators have three former Sharks on their roster with Boedker, acquired in the Mike Hoffman trade, Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo.

“It was a lot of fun out there,” Boedker said. “We played really hard as a unit I think. There was three of us in here playing against our old squad and everybody seems to rally behind that. So it was a good feeling in the room before and definitely on the ice I thought we played really well.”

While the Senators downplayed the reunion, they admitted it was strange to see Karlsson on the other side.

“It was different,” Mark Stone said. “What are we, 27 games in? I think it would have been a little different had we played him right away, but we’re pretty used to not having him around so it wasn’t that different.”

Ben Harpur, with his first NHL goal, Ryan Dzingel, Magnus Paajarvi, Bobby Ryan and Stone also scored for the Senators (12-12-3).

Joe Thornton and Barclay Goodrow scored for the Sharks (12-10-5). Martin Jones made 21 saves. San Jose is 0-3-1 on its current five-game road trip, which ends Sunday in Montreal.

“There’s no doubt we’re chasing the game,” said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. “I think there’s a little bit of a confidence issue when you’re losing some games like that. You might call it urgency. I would call it a little bit unconfiden­t. We need to find a way to get that swagger back.”

The Senators took a threegoal lead at 4-1 with Stone’s power-play goal four minutes into the third period. Paajarvi made it 5-1, scoring into an empty net, with over five minutes remaining.

Goodrow beat Anderson on a deflected shot in front to make it 5-2, but Ryan restored Ottawa’s four-goal cushion one minute later.

Karlsson received a thunderous applause from the crowd of 17,531 during his video tribute, shown on the scoreboard at the first TV timeout. He acknowledg­ed the crowd with a wave from the ice.

 ?? ICON SPORTSWIRE GETTY IMAGES ?? Eleven weeks after being traded, Erik Karlsson returned to Ottawa on Saturday with the San Jose Sharks.
ICON SPORTSWIRE GETTY IMAGES Eleven weeks after being traded, Erik Karlsson returned to Ottawa on Saturday with the San Jose Sharks.

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