The San Jose Sharks staved off elimination in the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night, when 25-year-old forward Melker Karlsson scored the game-winning goal for the Pacific Division club over the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center in Pennsylvania.
It’s getting him plenty of attention, too.
Carl Steward of the Mercury News reports that Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer has given the undrafted Karlsson some high praise for his forecheck and work ethic:
“I thought that was our best line (Thursday) night,” said DeBoer. “Melker’s been excellent the entire playoffs, but particularly in the Final. I think he’s really found another level here for us.
“He’s disruptive on the forecheck and with his tenacity on the puck, he’s turning a lot of pucks over. If you’re a skill guy like Logan playing with him, he’s going to create some turnovers with the way he forechecks and you’re there to make the next play.”
Karlsson has gotten his shot at playing key minutes in the postseason due to an injury to Sharks top six forward Tomas Hertl, who is potentially out for the remainder of the playoffs following a lower body injury sustained in game two against the Penguins.
He’s been making the most of it, though – with five goals and seven points in 23 playoff appearances this spring, including his key game-winner on Thursday night and the team’s lone goal in a game four loss – it’s clear that the free agent pickup is giving the Sharks his all in hopes of helping them to the Stanley Cup.
A native of Lycksele, Sweden, Karlsson put up 10 goals and 19 points in 65 games for the Sharks during the regular season.