Alfredsson rallies Senators past Wild

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) — Captain Daniel Alfredsson’s
shorthanded heroics kept the Ottawa Senators rolling.

Alfredsson scored a goal and set up one while shorthanded and
Alex Auld stopped all 17 shots he faced in relief as the
Senators rallied for their fourth straight win Saturday, a 5-3
victory over the Minnesota Wild.

Defenseman Chris Phillips netted a shorthanded tally, Antoine
Vermette and All-Star Dany Heatley recorded a goal and an assist
apiece and rookie blue-liner Brian Lee also scored for Ottawa,
which scored five unanswered goals to extend its longest winning
streak of the season.

“Obviously, they came out really strong,” Senators coach Cory
Clouston said. “They capitalized on their chances. We had to
make some adjustments in the second, after the first
intermission. Credit to the guys, they made the adjustments,
what we wanted them to do, and it worked.”

Owen Nolan tallied twice and added an assist in the first period
as the Wild built a 3-0 lead, chasing starting goaltender Brian
Elliott with 6:47 remaining in the session.

“It’s obviously not good enough to get three goals in the first
period and basically just disrespect the other team,” Nolan
said. “We felt the game was in hand. They came out to work the
next two periods and gave it to us.

“There is no reason for the outcome tonight. We were up three
goals, and the way we are capable of playing, that should’ve
been good enough.”

Lee started the comeback with 7:21 remaining in the second
period and Vermette cut the deficit to 3-2 less than four
minutes later.

“They score, it’s 3-1, and the force changed sides,” Minnesota
coach Jacques Lemaire said. “Now they get confidence.”

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Vermette received a centering pass from Chris Kelly in the slot
and fired a wrist shot past All-Star netminder Niklas Backstrom
on the stick side with 3:26 left.

Ottawa tied the contest at 3-3 with 59 seconds remaining in the
middle session after Nick Foligno was whistled for roughing.

Alfredsson led a 2-on-1 rush and feathered a pass under
Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky’s stick to Phillips, who
deked to the backhand and tucked a shot between the pads of

“My intention was to shoot, but the defenseman came right over
to me and I had to make the pass,” Alfredsson said. “And that
was quite the finish (by Phillips). That was obviously a huge
goal for us to tie it up. We had all the momentum when we went
into the third, and we used it.”

Backstrom, who stopped 16 shots, was replaced by Josh Harding to
start the third period, but that did not deter Alfredsson.

With Jarkko Ruutu in the penalty box for interference,
Alfredsson led another odd-man rush but finished it himself this
time. He blasted a shot from the right faceoff circle that
trickled past Harding at 2:29 of the final session, snapping the
3-3 tie.

“It’s a big lift for a team that, for the most part this year,
has struggled,” Phillips said.

Heatley added an empty-netter with 21 seconds to play, securing
the win for the Senators.

“This is a group that believes right now,” Clouston said.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard collected a goal and assist while James
Sheppard set up two tallies for the Wild, who never had
squandered a three-goal lead and lost at the Xcel Energy Center
since joining the NHL in 2000.