William Karlsson has a date at the Hard Rock Hotel on June 20 after all.
The Golden Knights center was named a finalist Friday for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which goes to the NHL player who displays the best sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and Buffalo’s Ryan O’Reilly are the other finalists.
The NHL Awards Show is June 20 at The Joint at the Hard Rock.
— NHL (@NHL) April 20, 2018
“It’s pretty cool to be nominated,” said Karlsson, who had career highs with 43 goals and 78 points to lead the Knights while having just 12 penalty minutes in 82 games. “I try to play the game without taking penalties, and I don’t get much into the chirping. I just try and focus on myself. I’d rather be on the ice contributing.”
Wednesday, Karlsson was snubbed as a finalist for the Selke Trophy, which goes to the league’s top defensive forward. He led the NHL in plus/minus at plus-49, but it wasn’t enough to get him in the mix.
“It was kinda expected,” Karlsson said of his exclusion, which saw Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar, Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron named as the finalists. “It is what it is. But I’m proud of the season I had, and I know I played well defensively.”
Your nominees for the Frank J. Selke Trophy are Patrice Bergeron, Sean Couturier and @AnzeKopitar.
— NHL (@NHL) April 18, 2018
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was snubbed as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s top goaltender, said he understood.
“I think every goalie cares. It’s a great honor,” Fleury said of the “But it’s fine. I didn’t play all season. I didn’t have as many wins.”
Fleury said he had no problem with the Vezina finalists — Pekka Rinne of Nashville, Connor Hellebuyck of Winnipeg and Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay.
And your Vezina Trophy finalists are…
— NHL (@NHL) April 17, 2018
“They’re all great goaltenders who had great seasons,” Fleury said. “They’re all good choices.”
Sharks No. 2 in penalty kill
The Knights faced the regular season’s top penalty kill in the Los Angeles Kings in the opening round. Now, they face the league’s second-best unit in the San Jose Sharks (84.8 percent on 34 goals in 224 short-handed situations).
“San Jose is very aggressive,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “They didn’t give up a whole lot of opportunities.”
The Knights ranked 10th in penalty killing at 81.4 percent (44 goals in 237 attempts). But in the opening round against the Kings, the Knights were at 92.3 percent (1 of 13). The Sharks were 2 of 12 (83.3 percent) in penalty killing in their sweep of Anaheim.
There was no change in the forward lines or defensive pairings during Friday’s practice at City National Arena.
■ Karlsson worked with Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith.
■ Erik Haula centered James Neal and Alex Tuch.
■ Cody Eakin centered David Perron and Ryan Carpenter.
■ Pierre-Edouard Bellemare centered Will Carrier and Tomas Nosek.
■ Oscar Lindberg, Tomas Tatar and Ryan Reaves were the fifth line.
The defense had Nate Schmidt and Brayden McNabb, Deryk Engelland and Shea Theodore, Colin Miller with Jon Merrill and Luca Sbisa and Brad Hunt as the fourth defensive pairing.
When asked if he was thinking of moving Perron back with Haula and Neal, Gallant said no.
“We like the way the lines are working, the way they are right now,” he said.