When you look at Erik Karlsson’s statistics, you see a player with numbers befitting a talented defenseman. Karlsson has seven goals, 37 points and a +10 plus-minus.
But Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski writes it’s time for Karlsson to let loose and be the difference-maker the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired last summer.
Karlsson has not been the dynamic presence he was last season when he registered 101 points and was making things happen on a nightly basis for San Jose. It was anticipated that Karlsson would give the Penguins a feared power play. Instead, the Penguins own a power ranked 30th overall. Last week, coach Mike Sullivan reconfigured his power play units, moving Karlsson to the second unit.
There were signs of the old Karlsson in a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. Karlsson was carrying the puck with authority, taking charge. But the Penguins will need much more from Karlsson to climb back in the Eastern Conference playoff race. That makes the Karlsson issue of importance to the Detroit Red Wings who own one of the wild card spots.
“In a season in which the Penguins are searching for difference-makers beyond Crosby and his constant linemate Jake Guentzel,” Kingerski wrote, “Karlsson’s emergence can’t happen soon enough.”
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Red Wings In Case You Missed It
- Robby Fabbri is leaving the Detroit Red Wings for personal reasons. He will miss at least one game on the road trip. Bob Duff has the story in his notbook. With Fabbri out, Klim Kostin might be in against his former team, the Edmonton Oilers.
- Detroit’s third line of Michael Rasmussen, Andrew Copp and Christian Fischer is doing a first-rate job in both ends of the ice.
- Even with his recent offensive impact, don’t expect to see Jake Walman in any shootouts, Derek Lalonde jokes.
Red Wings Next Game
Coach Derek Lalonde’s team will play the Edmonton Oilers tonight (9 p.m.). The Red Wings are 10-2-2 in January. The Oilers are 1-2 coming out of the break. A month ago, the Oilers beat Detroit 3-2 in overtime in Little Caesars Arena.
Hockey Now Network
Boston: Brad Marchand still has his eye on the prize as hits the 1,000-game in the NHL. Boston Bruins.
Buffalo: Defenseman Owen Power left the Buffalo Sabres practice with an injury Monday. An update coming today.
Calgary: Trevor Neufeld explores whether the Calgary Flames have a toughness problem.
Pittsburgh: It’s past time for Erik Karlsson to be a difference-maker for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dan Kingerski has the take.