San Francisco Chronicle

Karlsson propels Sharks


Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists, Aaron Dell stopped all eight shots he faced in relief and the San Jose Sharks ended their road trip by beating the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Sunday.

Karlsson set up goal by Evgeny Svechnikov at even strength in the first period and one by Alexander Barabanov on the power play in the second to give him 55 assists this season, good for second in the NHL. Only Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov has more.

Karlsson scored his 18th goal of the season in the third period on a shot from along the boards that fluttered by Charlie Lindgren. A third Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman is in reach for Karlsson, who’s on pace to be the first blueliner to reach 100 points since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

“This is a legit Norris Trophy winner,” Sharks coach David Quinn said of Karlsson, who skated a game-high 24:07. “There’s not a better defenseman in the league right now. I know the points get a lot attention as they should, but (it’s also about) all these other things you need a defenseman to do for the most part he’s done throughout the season.”

After a three-point performanc­e, Karlsson is at 73 this season — his highest total in nearly a decade. The 32-year-old Swede has played in all 54 of San Jose’s games, and could be the biggest star traded before the March 3 deadline.

“I don’t worry about the circumstan­tial stuff and the things that I can’t control,” Karlsson said. “I’m happy to come to the rink every day, and that’s the most important thing.”

Dell helped ensure this victory after replacing starter Kaapo Kahkonen late in the second period. Evgeny Kuznetsov inadverten­tly skated into Kahkonen’s head.

“They came and told me he had to do the (concussion) protocol,” said Dell, who joined the Sharks in Washington only because goalie James Reimer was sick. “Haven’t really had time to think about it a whole lot, actually. Just been kind of go, go go. Yeah, kind of a crazy turn of events.”

Kraken 4, Flyers 3: Jaden Schwartz scored twice, Jordan Eberle had a goal and an assist and Seattle sapped some of host Philadelph­ia’s Super Bowl Sunday excitement with a victory.

Canadiens 6, Oilers 2: Jordan Harris had his first career two-goal game and host Montreal earned wins on back-to-back afternoons.

Golden Knights 7, Ducks 2: Seven Vegas players had two points and the host Golden Knights scored five times in the third period to break open a one-goal game and extend their winning streak to three.

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