The Ottawa Senators will receive a major boost in their quest for a playoff spot, when Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson returns to the lineup.
Karlsson told reporters in Washington that he'll play Thursday against the Capitals. Originally expected to miss four to six months after surgery Feb. 14 to fix a laceration in his left Achilles tendon, Karlsson will come back after just 10 weeks.
"I have no concerns," Senators coach Paul MacLean told reporters Wednesday, when asked if Karlsson was returning too soon. "If he says he's ready to play, then he's ready to play. He's done the work."
Karlsson led NHL defensemen in scoring last season with 78 points. He had six goals and four assists in 14 games when he was hurt Feb. 13 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators are 4-6-0 in their past 10 games and have slipped to seventh in the Eastern Conference, but they're tied with the eighth-place New York Rangers, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets.