-- The game was on the line, and what would eventually be his 400th goal was on his stick. Daniel Alfredsson
"I just told myself: ‘Shoot the puck'," he said.
The 39-year-old Ottawa captain hit a milestone and won the game in dramatic fashion on Friday night, as the Senators came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Flames, 4-3 in overtime, on a power-play goal from the Swedish veteran. A sellout crowd of 20,500 at Scotiabank Place showed their appreciation by chanting the forward's name as he circled the ice in celebration of No. 400.
The goal was especially sweet, as Alfredsson was not only able to score it in front of a home crowd, but also had plenty of family in town that had been staying with him during the holidays.
"I always said I would love to do it at home," he said. "But it's going to happen when it happens. Today, we're so caught up in the game, and I just want to win. I wasn't really thinking whether I score or not, it's going to be No. 400. I was just trying to find a lane, and if I did, I was going to shoot. I saw it go in, and I saw Erik (Karlsson) jumping towards me and that's when I realized it. Obviously having family and friends here makes it that much more special."
Karlsson, who was the first to congratulate Alfredsson on the ice, expressed his happiness about his countryman's big moment.
"I wanted him to score bad," Karlsson said. "I'm happy he did it in a game like this that was so important for us to come back. It shows that he's still the leader of this team and a great hockey player."
For the Senators, it was a happy ending to a game that definitely did not start out on the right foot.
The visiting Flames got off to a quick start just 23 seconds into the game when Alex Auld
came out to play the puck to Sergei Gonchar
, who wasn't expecting the pass. Rene Bourque
gained control and tipped it past the Ottawa goaltender for the early lead.
Calgary went up 2-0 with Ottawa forward Nick Foligno
in the box for holding the stick. Jay Bouwmeester
skated the puck past the net, then passed back to Curtis Glencross
, who fired it past Auld at 6:25.
It was more bad luck for the Sens' special teams -- as of Friday, Ottawa had the second-worst penalty kill in the League at home, at 73 percent. The Senators have allowed seven power-play goals in their last six games overall.
The Flames would continue to pile on late in the period, when Chris Butler
's seeing-eye wrister from the top of the circle at 18:49 beat Auld high stick-side for his first of the season, making the score 3-0. Anton Babchuk
, back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a broken hand on Nov. 8, also had an assist on the goal.
That was it for Auld, who stopped 12 of 15 shots and was pulled in between periods in favor of Craig Anderson
The Senators got on the board in the second, when Foligno flew in on the left wing and deked Leland Irving
at 3:35 for his first goal in nine games.
They made the score 3-2 at the 12:01 mark when Zack Smith
fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle, beating Irving. It was Smith's third goal in five games.
The Senators tied things up early in the third, when Karlsson regained control of his own rebound, then skated around the net and fired on Irving for a highlight-worthy goal at 4:28.
The defenseman's high-risk maneuver to find the back of the net didn't faze coach Paul MacLean one bit.
"I thought it was a great play," he said. "I thought he read the play real well and had defensive support, coming back on the other side. That's what great players do -- they step up and make plays when the opposition is trying to do something that maybe they should be."
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Flames, who entered having won four of their last five games.
"We all knew what we had to do, and we were talking about it on the bench, but nothing got done," Bourque said. "We lost last night, now we lose again tonight. We're just not sharp right now."
"It's just all the little things that help bottle up a team," Irving said. "We were still too loose tonight and allowing them to skate too much. There were times in the game where I thought we were in control, but obviously in the end they took it to us."