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Karlsson Proud of Another Accomplishment Besides 100 Points

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Credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer

Erik Karlsson has seemed ready to get his 100th point over with for a while.

So it was perhaps with some relief that Karlsson was able to score two goals tonight, to get him to 100 points, in a 6-2 San Jose Sharks’ loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

“It’s been a talking point here lately, so it’s nice to have it done and over with here a little bit early,” he admitted post-game.

Karlsson became the first defenseman in 31 years, since Brian Leetch, to score 100 points. Leetch had 22 goals and 80 assists for the New York Rangers in 1991-92.

Karlsson, like he’s done all season, did his part in a tough game for his team, giving the Sharks an early 1-0 lead on a pretty give-and-go with late-season standout Jacob Peterson.

That was Karlsson’s 24th goal of the season and his 99th point.

Then, early in the third period, Karlsson struck again, this time on the power play, for his 25th goal and 100th point of the season.

This cut the San Jose Sharks’ deficit to 4-2, but it was a brief respite, as the Jets responded quickly with two more to give themselves a comfortable 6-2 victory.

It’s been a particularly dominant season for Karlsson, the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy.

He has, at the moment, 27 more points than runner-up defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Quinn Hughes. That 27 percent margin is higher than even presumptive Hart Trophy candidate Connor McDavid’s 22 percent lead in points over second-place Leon Draisaitl. McDavid has 151 points, a 27-point lead over teammate Draisaitl’s 124.

Just as importantly, Karlsson has managed to stay healthy. In three of Karlsson’s previous four years with the Sharks, he’s suffered major injuries that have shortened those campaigns. Karlsson has played every game this season so far, his first time since 2015-16 to play at least 80 games.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s a tough accomplishment to do, to play all 82 games every year,” Karlsson said. “That’s something myself, and I think everybody else that plays this game takes a lot of pride in it. We got two more to go, hopefully get to that milestone.”

Unfortunately, Karlsson’s individual accomplishments haven’t translated to team success, as the San Jose Sharks are 22-42-16 — a big reason why he was ready to get the 100th point marker out of the way. But Karlsson’s comeback season – it’s been four years since he’s even been in the Norris Trophy conversation – did put him at the center of trade rumors earlier this season.

“I’m physically and mentally in a good spot in my life, and I’ve just been trying to take it day by day, and keep the motivation going as best as possible. It’s been tough as of lately,” Karlsson acknowledged of a Sharks squad that has been out of the playoff race more or less since the beginning of the season.

Can Karlsson keep this up next year…and will it be with the San Jose Sharks?

But those are questions for the off-season. For now?

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