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Senators feel Alfredsson's absence in Game 3 loss

by Erin Nicks

KANATA, Ont. -- Daniel Alfredsson was out of the lineup for only the third time in the 112 playoff games the Ottawa Senators have played in their history. It's safe to say his teammates were missing their captain Monday night.


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Alfredsson was labeled as a game-time decision prior to Game 3 after being knocked out of Saturday's game with a concussion after a blow to the head by the New York RangersCarl Hagelin. He took part in in the morning skate but was unable to dress for Ottawa's first home game in the Senators' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers.

Veteran defenseman Chris Phillips wore the "C" in Alfredsson’s absence and conceded that there was no real replacement for Alfredsson, but wasn't about to blame his absence for the 1-0 loss.

"He’s a big part of this team, and it’s tough not seeing him in there," Phillips said. "But you can’t dwell on it; you can’t make excuses. It’s up to everyone else to try and help out and fill a role like that."

Added forward Nick Foligno: "We missed him for sure. He’s our leader, he’s our captain. He really creates a lot [offensively] when he’s out there. You miss a guy like that, especially when it’s a tight game and the next goal could really boost you. So hopefully he’s getting ready to come back and he’ll be in for Game 4."

While the Senators kept pace with the Rangers right until the end of the game, the team has a history of coming up short in the postseason without their captain in the lineup. The Senators are 0-3, have been outscored 10-3 and are 1-for-12 on the power play without Alfredsson in the lineup during the postseason.

"We’re just trying to have everyone chip in and fill his void, so when he does come back, we’ll be ready," center Kyle Turris said.

Players like Turris, Foligno and Bobby Butler were some of those being relied upon to step up in Alfredsson’s absence. Butler, who would have been a healthy scratch if Alfredsson had played, tied with Erik Karlsson for the team lead in shots with five.

"I think everybody banded together; I think Butler did a great job of stepping in," Foligno said. "He worked his tail off to help us out and we had some really good chances as a line."

Coach Paul MacLean was also pleased with Butler's performance.

"I thought Bobby played really [well]," MacLean said. "He was energetic, he was on the puck, he shot the puck … unfortunately, his evaluation is that it didn’t go in the net. But I thought he came in and gave us a lot of energy. I think he really stepped up and played a heck of a game for us."

Center Zenon Konopka said Senators can’t look back and wonder if Alfredsson would have made a difference; instead, he said they have to be ready to go in Game 4 on Wednesday night -- regardless of whether Alfredsson is in the lineup.

"Hindsight’s 20/20 … who knows what makes the difference," Konopka said. "But we’ve got to worry about who’s in the lineup, not who’s out of the lineup. Obviously, it would be great to have him back for Wednesday, but if he’s not, we’ll have to bring a little more. We look at video for a reason, we look at tendencies. We’ll have a plan of action for Wednesday."

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