The Sharks again are dealing with an Erik Karlsson injury scare. This time, however, it comes in the Western Conference final, with their season potentially on the line.
Karlsson spent the majority of the third period on the bench Friday night as the Sharks fell to the Blues 2-1 in Game 4. San Jose's star defenseman was in obvious discomfort during the period when he was on the ice.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer didn't provide an update after the loss, and didn't have any new information Saturday. For now, though, Karlsson's teammates are acting like he'll be on the ice Sunday at SAP Center, with the best-of-seven series tied at two apiece.
"We’re focused as if he’s playing. Only Erik knows how he’s feeling," Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic told the media Saturday, via the Mercury News.
Karlsson clearly had a target on his back in Game 4. He was hit four times, and he has been hit 15 times in the series.
Fatigue certainly can be a factor, too. Through the first four games of the series, Karlsson has averaged just over 25 minutes of ice time. That places him second on the Sharks, behind only Brent Burns.
Karlsson missed 27 of the Sharks' final 33 regular-season games with various injuries. He's played in every playoff game so far, though, and the Sharks certainly will need him in Game 5.