Ottawa Senators longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson was missing today as Ottawa skated through a 45 minute practice at the Bell Sensplex in Kanata. Fans should not be too worried about their team’s leader, he was likely given the day off by head coach Paul MacLean to rest his back which has been sore due to putting the team on it so many times over the years and carrying them.
Alfredsson did it again this week when it looked like the Senators were in danger of falling out of playoff contention with the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals breathing down their necks he picked his team up when they needed him the most.
In the past two games the 39 year-old veteran has scored four goals and added two assists as he is trying to will the Senators into the playoffs for perhaps his last run at the Stanley Cup.
Senators fans have become accustomed to seeing their captain perform such heroics over his 15 seasons, and they shower him with chants of “ALFIE-ALFIE-ALFIE!” every time he scores, but the chants had fallen silent prior to the game against Pittsburgh with Alfredsson mired in an 11 game goal scoring drought.
Fittingly enough, the Senators captain would use the penalty kill to spark his team against the Penguins.
Alfredsson currently sits second the NHL in shorthanded goals just one behind league leaders Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild and Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils with three, and his third shorty of the season came on Saturday with Ottawa holding a one goal lead on the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins late in the second period.
Alfredsson took a long bomb pass from Milan Michalek at the red line, and with Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby bearing down on him, the Ottawa captain wired a shot into the top corner of the Pittsburgh net giving his team a much needed insurance goal.
Buoyed by the shorthanded marker, Ottawa would go on to score three more goals in the third period of an 8-4 Ottawa win.
Monday night Alfredsson took the Senators game against the Winnipeg Jets into his own hands in the third period, scoring two goals in the final frame of a 6-4 Ottawa win including scoring the game winner with just over two minutes left in regulation time.
With five games left in their regular season, and just a four point cushion on the ninth place Capitals, the Senators will need their captain to stay hot if they are to give him another kick at the can in the playoffs.