OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 6-3 Friday night, but more impressive than the win was the performance by Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery one week ago, made an earlier than expected return and was instrumental in the victory picking up two assists.
Jarkko Ruutu and Jason Spezza led the way scoring twice, Dany Heatley, Anton Volchenkov also scored for the Senators (2-1-1), while Martin Gerber was solid stopping 35 shots.
Shane Doan and Enver Lisin scored for the Coyotes (2-2-0). Ilya Bryzgalov faced 26 shots.
Alfredsson was expected to miss 10-14 days, but refused to rule out an earlier return. Speculation grew throughout the week as the Senators captain took part in practice and showed no signs of discomfort.
Alfredsson returned at full force taking a regular shift, playing on the power play all the while making the smart plays that make him so effective.
Ruutu opened the scoring midway through the period as he capitalized on a turnover at centre ice to beat Bryzgalov with an off-balance shot.
Spezza made it 2-0 at the 15-minute mark of the period as Alfredsson set him up with a long pass allowing Spezza to put on a great move to draw Bryzgalov and leave an open net.
With just over one minute remaining in the period Heatley made it 3-0.
The Senators continued to dominate in the second period to the delight of the 20,179 on hand as Volchenkov, playing in his 300th NHL career game, scored his first of the season as he was allowed to score on his own rebound.
Doan opened the scoring for the Coyotes two minutes into the third scoring on a giveaway by Alexandre Picard deep in the Senators end.
Ruutu scored his second of the night two minutes later to make it 5-1, but midway through the period Lisin scored his first of the season beating Gerber with a quick wrist shot.
Phoenix made it interesting as Boedker made it 5-3 with just over five minutes remaining as he beat a sprawling Gerber, but Spezza added a power-play goal late in the game to ensure the victory.
Notes: D Luke Richardson and LW Christoph Schubert were healthy scratches for Ottawa. The Coyotes were without LW Daniel Carcillo who was suspended for two games. Phoenix was without D Jonas Ahnelov (hand) indefinite and C Joel Perreault (concussion) indefinite. RW Brian McGrattan and D Ryan Lannon were healthy scratches for the Coyotes. ... Senators coach Craig Hartsburg was the captain of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds when he and Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky were teammates.