Down by two goals at the start of the third period in their eventual 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, one of the small subtleties that I noticed were the number of regular shifts that Erik Karlsson was taking without his regular defensive partner, Filip Kuba.
Via DobberHockey.com‘s Frozen Pool component (you have to pay for the service) here is a look at Karlsson’s even strength defensive partners for the team’s last three regular season games.
In retrospect, none of this should come as a surprise.
Between the constant shuffling of Matt Gilroy and Matt Carkner in and out of the lineup and having an Eastern Conference playoff spot sewn up it was an opportune time for experimentation on the part of Paul MacLean. In all likelihood, Karlsson’s minutes should average upwards of 30 minutes per game and it will probably come at the expense of one of the two aforementioned players who slot in alongside Chris Phillips – the defenceman who Karlsson spent 39.08% of his even strength ice-time with over the past three games.