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Senators’ coach MacLean: Karlsson ‘wasn’t one of the best players’

May 17, 2013, 11:08 PM EDT

Ottawa Senators v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators’ dynamic young defenseman Erik Karlsson struggled,and the his team is now in deep against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In Friday’s 4-3 to the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal, Karlsson was a minus-two.

To make matters worse, he was the blue liner Sidney Crosby dangled around to open the scoring early in the first period.

That goal was the first of three on the night for Crosby, and the beginning of a tough guy game for Karlsson.

Senators’ coach Paul MacLean – a finalist for the Jack Adams Award – had some strong words for Karlsson following the game.

“On our team the best players play; Erik wasn’t one of the best players so he didn’t play,” said MacLean about Karlsson, as per a tweet from TSN Radio 1050.

Karlsson’s ice-time was reduced drastically in Game 2. He had 21 shifts for 15:37 in time on ice. Compare that to Game 1, when he had 27 shifts for 26:58.

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