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SAN JOSE – The Stanley Cup Final is not a recent phenomenon for the Sharks. San Jose is focused on the biggest hockey scene since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, when the team acquired Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.

Now, after a regular roller coaster season, the two-time defenseman Norris and his team-mates are gearing up for the final round of the Western Conference. S addressing the press before the first match, Karlsson explained how to join the team early in the season and how the Stanley Cup final had always been in the eyes of the team .

"Once I was traded here, I knew we had a great chance," Karlsson told the press. "(They were already an excellent team so I could come in and find my way, and here we are, we worked all year and in this series to get to this position."

This is not EK65's first trip to the conference finals, of course. He and the Sens played seven games in 2017 before Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated them from the Lord Stanley Cup race. Karlsson admitted he could not compare the last two trips of the conference because it has not yet taken place. But he acknowledged that his level of confidence in San Jose was very high.

"I feel more confident and comfortable now than maybe, then," he said. "I think that with Ottawa, it was a little unexpected. We did not look so far. Here, I think this year we are aiming for the Cup Final since the first match. This is our expectation. "

Karlsson's season with Team Teal has not been without its ups and downs. It took him a while to get acclimated to San Jose after playing with Ottawa only during his professional career. Then comes the mid-season injury that left it out until the last game of the regular season. As the Sharks continued their playoffs, Karlsson's playing level only improved.

"Erik is one of the best players in the game. Look at this year's course," said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson. "He is an important part of our team. It makes the difference. "

Wilson quickly pointed out that the Sharks are a "sum of their games", as opposed to a single player. Karlsson is part of this winning equation.

"We will win in different ways, different nights, with different guys," he said, "and I think that's the beauty of our group."

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There is still no indication of how long Karlsson will play for San Jose. For now, the Sharks are focused on extending their playoff run.

"For me, it's a privilege and something I wanted to be exchanged here," said Karlsson. "But there are no guarantees. All this team and organization have proven to me is that they are ready to do the job to get where we want to go. And now we are sitting here and still have work to do. "

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