Lodi News-Sentinel

Sharks’ Karlsson likely to miss rest of another frustratin­g season

- Curtis Pashelka

SAN JOSE — Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson’s season appears to be over, bringing to an end another frustratin­g year for himself and the team.

Karlsson, 31, will miss his seventh straight game Tuesday when the Sharks play the Anaheim Ducks in their final game of the season at SAP Center, and coach Bob Boughner isn’t holding out much hope that the twotime Norris Trophy winner will be able to play in San Jose’s final two games later this week.

Karlsson has dealt with an unspecifie­d lower-body injury for at least two weeks and has not played since April 14 when the Sharks lost in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks, a game that officially eliminated San Jose from playoff contention.

Karlsson returned to San Jose after the Chicago game for further evaluation, as he missed the final two dates of the road trip.

The Sharks’ 82-game schedule wraps up with road games with the Edmonton Oilers and Seattle Kraken on Thursday and Friday, respective­ly.

“He’s not skating. So, that doesn’t point to a real positive sign that he’s going to be dressing for the last couple of games,” Boughner said Tuesday morning, “He hasn’t been on the ice in a week.”

If Karlsson is done, he’ll have finished with 10 goals and 35 points in 50 games, an improvemen­t over the 22 points he had in 52 games last season. The Sharks in both years dressed a handful of less-experience­d players, likely affecting Karlsson’s offensive output.

Still, this marks the sixth straight year that Karlsson hasn’t been able to play a full schedule and the third straight season that the Sharks have missed the NHL playoffs. Karlsson is finishing the third year of an eightyear, $92 million deal he was given by the Sharks in June 2019.

Karlsson missed six games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11 for COVID-19-related reasons, then missed 15 games from late January 22 to March 6, as he had surgery to repair a small tear in his left forearm.

Karlsson’s six-plus week absence earlier this year had a devastatin­g effect on the Sharks’ offense and their playoff aspiration­s.

In that time, the Sharks went 3-7-5 and averaged an NHL-worst 2.00 goals per game. By the time Karlsson returned for the March 10 game in Los Angeles, the Sharks in 15 games had fallen from a .524 points percentage to .491.

The Sharks, prior to Tuesday, were 3-2-1 in their last six games, including a dramatic 5-4 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

San Jose erased a 4-2 Vegas lead in the final three minutes of regulation time, with Timo Meier scoring with 0.9 seconds left in the third period to send the game into overtime. In the shootout, rookie center Thomas Bordeleau was the only player for either team to score as the Sharks snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Golden Knights.

 ?? NHAT V. MEYER/BAY AREA NEWS GROUP ?? The Sharks' Erik Karlsson skates during warmups before a game against the Detroit Redwings in San Jose on Jan. 11.
NHAT V. MEYER/BAY AREA NEWS GROUP The Sharks' Erik Karlsson skates during warmups before a game against the Detroit Redwings in San Jose on Jan. 11.

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