OTTAWA – Ottawa Senators fans can only hope this wasn’t Daniel Alfredsson’s final game in the nation’s capital.
Alfredsson returned to Ottawa’s lineup on Monday after missing the last three games of the Senators’ Eastern Conference quarter-final series against the New York Rangers with a concussion.
Unfortunately, the Ottawa captain returned for Game 6 only to see his team fall 3-2. The deciding Game 7 will be played Thursday in New York.
The night started out so well for Alfredsson and the Senators, but quickly deteriorated.
“We started out pretty good in the first period,” said Alfredsson. “We killed a lot of penalties, deserved a few of them, some we absolutely didn’t, but that gets them the momentum to get back in it and we can’t get possession and we can’t generate much offensively. We had some chances on the power play, but we didn’t really do much.”
The 39-year-old Alfredsson hasn’t made a decision regarding his future next season or possibly retiring. At this point, he’s only focusing on helping his team be prepared for Thursday’s Game 7.
“We’ve got to regroup,” he said. “We’ve got two days here and we know that we played well in their building and know we’re going to have to come out with another gutsy effort and everybody knows in Game 7 anything can happen. We obviously want to come out and get a good start there, but first a couple of days here to get ready.”
Alfredsson’s two oldest sons, Hugo and Loui, skated on the ice, waving Senators flags during the pre-game ceremonies and stood next to their father during the national anthems.
Ottawa took a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the first period on a Chris Neil power-play goal.
With the game tied 1-1, Alfredsson had a great chance midway through the second to regain the lead, but wasn’t able to beat New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 25 saves.
From that point on the Rangers took control of the game, scoring two goals just over two minutes apart.
Despite their team trailing, Ottawa’s fans were quick to recognize Alfredsson with chants of “Alfie” at the 11-minute mark of each period. The chant has become a ritual at Scotiabank Place and even continued during Alfredsson’s absence last week.
A fierce competitor, Alfredsson was caught airing his frustration in the third as he got to the bench and slammed his stick until it broke and then slammed a water bottle before stomping his foot to break whatever was beneath it.
“I was (really frustrated),” said Alfredsson. “We didn’t start on the power play in the third and I can understand that because we weren’t very good, but we weren’t on the ice and then we take a penalty so we didn’t get on for a while after that. A little frustration and I probably should have handled myself better.”