BOSTON – Daniel Alfredsson had what the Boston Bruins needed – fresh legs.
The Ottawa captain scored three goals in his second game after missing 11 with a shoulder injury, and the Senators drove a tired Tim Thomas from the net midway through the second period of their 5-1 win Monday.
“Being able to do some real good workouts and skates, coming back I feel fresher than anybody,” Alfredsson said.
He ended his layoff on Saturday with a goal and two assists in a 4-2 win over Montreal. That day, the Bruins ended a three-game West Coast trip in Los Angeles with Thomas in goal. After the cross-country flight home, Thomas played his third game in five days Monday and was removed when Alfredsson’s second goal made it 3-0.
“He’s ironically come back well-rested. That can kind of give you a comparison,” said Thomas, whose 11-game winning streak against Ottawa ended. “We made a point of not making (fatigue) an excuse before we came into this game, but the reality of it is, to a certain extent it does catch up with you.”
Bruins centres Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron missed the road trip with injuries, although Bergeron played Monday.
Mike Fisher had three assists and Filip Kuba, who returned from a four-game injury layoff, assisted on two of Alfredsson’s goals as the Senators kept crowding the front of the net and won their third straight game after losing five in a row.
Alfredsson completed his ninth career hat trick, including two in the playoffs, about three minutes after his second goal on a power play against goalie Tuukka Rask.
“I don’t think anything (Alfredsson) does can surprise you anymore,” said goalie Brian Elliott, who started when Mike Brodeur felt dizzy before the game.
Daniel Paille ruined Elliott’s shutout bid when he converted a rebound at 4:23 of the third period. Ottawa’s final goal came at 11:05 of the period after Boston defenceman Dennis Wideman lost the puck when he skated into referee Dan O’Rourke, and Jonathan Cheechoo collected it and easily beat Rask.
“It didn’t matter tonight because it was 5-1,” Wideman said, “but what if it was a tie hockey game?”
The Senators tied the Bruins for second place in the Northeast Division with 54 points, 10 behind the Buffalo Sabres before their game at Phoenix on Monday night. Boston lost for the fifth time in six games.
Ottawa scored on its second and third shots against Thomas, who entered with a 16-5-2 record and 1.43 goals-against average against the Senators.
“Once we got the lead, they didn’t have the jump that they normally do,” Alfredsson said. “Getting that first goal gave us momentum.”
Alex Kovalev scored his 12th goal at 7:39 of the first period after taking a pass from Fisher. Then Alfredsson scored the next three goals.
“Since he’s been back he seems a little more energized,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said.
Alfredsson made it 2-0 at 14:24 of the first period with a shot over Thomas’ right shoulder as Chris Phillips screened the goalie in the slot. Alfredsson’s second goal came after Kuba’s shot from the right point to the left of the crease, where Alfredsson was waiting and deflected it in.
At 13:14 of the second, Alfredsson completed his first hat trick since he had three goals and four assists on Jan. 24, 2008, in Ottawa’s 8-4 win at Tampa Bay. This time, he shot the puck from the left point through a crowd and past Rask.
“He kept finding those holes and finding those lanes to get the puck through,” Thomas said.
The Bruins finally scored when Paille got his sixth goal on a rebound of a shot by Johnny Boychuk.
NOTES: The Boston Celtics were scheduled to play the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night in the same building, the TD Garden. … Bruins forward Drew Larman made his NHL debut after being called up from the Providence Bruins of the AHL on Monday. … The teams play again Saturday in Boston, wrapping up the season series. The Bruins lead 4-1-0. … Ottawa’s Anton Volchenkov played his 400th career game.