Sharks' Karlsson to sit 2 games for illegal check to head
Kings forward Austin Wagner on receiving end of hit in Saturday's 3-2 OT victory
San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson will get an extended Christmas break after the NHL handed him a two-game suspension Sunday for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles forward Austin Wagner in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss.
Karlsson wasn't penalized on the play that occurred in the neutral zone at 2:35 of the second period. Wagner was spun around, hit the ice and was wobbly as he skated to the bench. He didn't return to the game after suffering an upper-body injury.
Watch/listen to the NHL's explanation for suspending Karlsson:
"It's one of those plays [where] I'm closing [the] gap, and he skates into me," Karlsson told reporters after the game. "I don't really lean into him, I'm in his lane, and it's a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.
Karlsson will miss Sunday evening's game against the visiting Arizona Coyotes and a Dec. 27 home contest versus Anaheim. He'll forfeit $69,892.48 in salary and is eligible to play again Dec. 29 at Edmonton.
No NHL games are scheduled Dec. 24-26.
8-game points streak
Following a mid-September trade from Ottawa, Karlsson has collected points in each of his past eight games, including a pair of two-point efforts to give the 28-year-old 26 points in 37 contests.
A two-time recipient of the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman, he is in the final year of a seven-year, $45.5 million contract and would become a free agent July 1 if not signed.
The 19-12-6 Sharks have dropped two in a row but entered play Sunday in second place in the Pacific Division, three points behind Calgary.