Skip to main content

Alfredsson scores; Red Wings beat Senators

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Daniel Alfredsson's first goal against the Ottawa Senators stuck a dagger into his former team's comeback hopes.

Alfredsson scored into an empty net with 1:03 left in the third period in his first game back in Ottawa, and Drew Miller scored twice in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-2 win against the Senators on Sunday at Canadian Tire Centre.

"It was nice kind of to seal the game there because they were pushing," said Alfredsson, who also assisted on Johan Franzen's goal in the second period.

Jonas Gustavsson made 30 saves for Detroit, which extended its winning streak to four games.

Alfredsson, who left Ottawa during the summer after 17 seasons to sign a one-year contract with Detroit, was given a standing ovation by the capacity crowd of 20,011 prior to the game during the Senators' video tribute to their former captain.

The 40-year-old Swede said he really appreciated the gesture by the Senators and their fans, and found it a bit of a challenge to express his feelings in that moment.

"Well, it's hard to describe," Alfredsson said. "How do you feel you deserve to be cheered on like that after all you do is play hockey? It's kind of surreal at times to have that feeling, but it's a mutual feeling. I feel I definitely respect this city, this team as well, and I thought once the puck dropped the crowd also did the right thing and cheered on their team."

It was the third of four games between the new Atlantic Division foes this season, but the first in Ottawa.

Alfredsson walked into the arena with Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson prior to the game. The two Swedes shook hands and embraced before Alfredsson turned to go into Detroit's dressing room, while Karlsson continued down the hall to Ottawa's room.

"I mean, obviously it was a special game and it was fun to see the ovation he got, and it was probably nice to get it over with as well for him," Karlsson said. "I think the fans handled it really well and gave him the applause he deserved, and then during the game they cheered for the Sens as normal."

Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad scored, and Robin Lehner stopped 19 shots for the Senators, who won their past two games against Detroit, including a 4-2 win at Joe Louis Arena on Nov. 23.

Alfredsson, who missed that game because of a groin injury, first faced his former teammates in a 6-1 loss to Ottawa on Oct. 23.

"The first time we played against them we played poorly, and the second time we lost our discipline, so it was important obviously to respond here (Sunday), for Alfie and for the guys," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "It's important, and the guys care about him and wanted him to have a big night here.

"It was a great tribute to him at the start from the fans, and obviously he wanted to pay tribute to the organization that looked after him and his family for all those years, and I thought it was important our team play well."

Chants of "Alfie! Alfie!" during the video tribute gave way to boos for Alfredsson by late in the second period, when he carried the puck down the right side into the Senators' zone.

"Yeah, and that's good," Alfredsson said. "They should stick up for their team."

He was booed again when his name was announced after he restored Detroit's two-goal lead, 18 seconds after Zibanejad drew Ottawa to within 3-2 at 18:39.

"I think for Alfie it was a huge game, and an emotional one, coming back, and for him to get that goal at the end, that's a huge goal for us," Miller said. "They were pressing there and he gets the open-net goal, so it's huge for our team."

The crowd's response was more ambiguous when Alfredsson took the first shot of the game, a wrister on Lehner 18 seconds into the opening period, as well as when his name was announced for his 14th assist of the season on Franzen's seventh goal at 8:22 of the second.

Alfredsson had two goals and an assist Friday in his 1,200th game, a 5-0 road win against the New York Islanders.

He was in the neutral zone when he passed back to defenseman Jakub Kindl, who sent a cross-ice feed to Franzen at the Senators' blue line. Franzen, who had a five-goal game in Ottawa on Feb. 2, 2011, beat Lehner with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle for his ninth goal in eight games against the Senators.

Miller made it 2-0 at 11:13 when he finished off a centering pass from Tomas Tatar.

MacArthur drew Ottawa to within 2-1 with his eighth goal at 14:14.

Miller restored Detroit's two-goal lead at 3-1 with his second goal of the game at 1:58 of the third.

"I thought we played OK," said Lehner, who stopped Darren Helm on a breakaway midway through the first. "I thought it was a 50/50 game, but they're a skill team. They didn't really pepper the net, they waited for their opportunities and it's tough when you give a team like this good opportunities, because they're skilled players over there."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.