Karlsson does a striptease

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:54 AM ET

OTTAWA - Usually, when we have a 1-on-1 interview with a player after the morning skate, the guy either has a great game or a heroic moment later that night.

Rarely, if ever before, has he turned into a goat.

Coach Paul MacLean had his fourth line on the ice against Lightning stars Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis on at least a couple of occasions Tuesday night, including an early third period shift that ended with St. Louis breaking a 1-1 tie.

But the blame was not on Chris Neil, Jesse Winchester or Zenon Konopka, but Erik Karlsson, who was stripped of the puck at the Ottawa blue line a couple of seconds before St. Louis finished off a 3-on-1 by flipping a shot past Craig Anderson’s on the stick side.

Karlsson, who fell when his skate found a rut in a misstep that cost the Sens an overtime loss in Washington Saturday, was spared from experiencing that sinking feeling for a second game in a row by his rallying mates.

He should buy hamburgers for Daniel Alfredsson, Nick Foligno and Zack Smith.

ERIK THE GREAT

He’s the best skater in the NHL, arguably, and has tremendous offensive skills. What can’t Karlsson do? Well, right now, he can’t smile without looking like a hockey player. A tough one. Alas, Karlsson is getting a replacement for the tooth he lost when hit by a puck a couple of weeks ago.

Cheaps: You should leave it out.

Karlsson: It’s ruined my image. Outside the world of hockey, it’s not really a good thing to have a missing tooth. Who else has a missing tooth? I’m still 21. It’s one thing if I’m 30 or 35 and ending my career any time soon.

Cheaps: You mean like Chris Neil?

Karlsson: He’s a different story, too. He fights all the time. He might lose them again. It’s not a big chance I’m going to lose mine in a fight. If I take a puck in the face again ... it might happen, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Cheaps: You’re never going to drop the gloves?

Karlsson: If I’m going to fight a guy it won’t be against a fighter. He might still knock me out but ...

Cheaps: Maybe you’ll go with Sid Crosby Dec. 16?

Karlsson: He’s way stronger than me. I’m not going to fight him either. He’d kill me. He’s from Canada. He’s been in a couple of scraps.

Cheaps: You’ve never fought?

Karlsson: Yeah, I did back home, but it’s more like one, two punches then it’s a wrestling game. I usually win those, though. I’m pretty good at wrestling, even though I’m a small guy. I’m wiry.”

STARTS AND STOPS

It was a great night even before the opening faceoff. First Smith falls down accepting the Molson Cup award for the month of November, then “Mr. Chill” of Big Sugar performs the Star Spangled Banner on a harmonica before his bandmate plays O Canada on a multi-neck electric guitar in a pair of anthems unlike any before at SBP ... Karlsson saw 8:39 of ice time in the first period, but 2:55 of it came on one shift, including the full two minutes of Ottawa’s first power play. That wouldn’t have happened had Filip Kuba been in the lineup ... Phil Kessel was lucky to hang on to his share of the goal scoring lead. First Milan Michalek didn’t get the puck as high as he should have after being set up in prime position by Nick Foligno, then Stamkos misses on one chance at the open side, and fails to bury a set up by Steve Downie off a 4-on-1.

STUFF I THINK I THUNK

First two hits of the game were Colin Greening on Ted Purcell in a coming together of Newfoundlanders and Daniel Alfredsson, who would go on to have a big goal and assist, throwing a hip check into Dana Tyrell ... Anderson not only matched a career high with his third helper of the season (on Alfredsson’s goal), but also moved ahead of seven guys who have played “out” for the Senators this season in the ‘assists’ category ... What’s it like playing centre on a line with Neil and Konopka? “I feel pretty safe out there,” said Winchester. “Neiler and Konopka are definitely pretty skilled at their trade.”

HMM ...

Gord Wilson’s month end feature — The Goodies — is being wasted in its current time slot, 15 minutes before the game and everyone’s arrival. Put it back to where it used to be, during a TV time out, OK? ... Anderson made a great glove save off the right-shooting Matt Gilroy, who wouldn’t have been able to fire the puck that hard had it been after he broke a stick and received a left-shooting replacement from his bench ... Alfredsson would have had his seventh of the season had the puck not hopped over his stick on a pass by Michalek with the Tampa net empty.

KONOPKA KORNER

Cheaps: You musta been looking forward to playing against your old friends on the Lightning?

Konopka: You know what I want to talk about? There’s a guy on their team who has won a Hart Trophy, and he was a up for a Hart Trophy last year, but when people talk about the best players in the league, his name is never put in the mix.

Cheaps: Marty St. Louis.

Konopka: He should be talked about as one of them. He does everything right. He’s so fast. Creates so many chances for linemates because he tracks the puck, he causes so many turnovers.

Cheaps: How about a quick Steve Downie memory?

Konopka: He’s a piece of work. (laughing). One game he got speared, carted off, went to the hospital or observation, came back, got dressed again and went back in the game. I didn’t even know that was possible.


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