|Less than four weeks after separating his left shoulder, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will return to the lineup tonight against the Canadiens in Montreal (Getty Images).
The captain is ready to help right the Ottawa Senators ship.Daniel Alfredsson
will be back in the lineup when the Senators face off against the Canadiens tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200). It's a huge lift for Ottawa heading into a showdown between two old rivals who share seventh place in the torrid Eastern Conference race with identical 23-21-4 records.
"It's going to be a lot of fun to play," Alfredsson said following the Senators' pre-game skate at the Bell Centre. "I feel confident I can go out and play and compete and help the team. I'm confident about coming back and I'm not worried about re-aggravating it."
Alfredsson has been sidelined since separating his left shoulder during a Dec. 23 game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The original prognosis suggested a 4-to-6 week absence from the lineup but, as he's shown many times previously, the Senators captain is a quick healer.
"The first time hurting my shoulder, I didn't know what to expect or how long I was going to be out," said Alfredsson, who skated on a line with Nick Foligno
and Mike Fisher in the pre-game skate. "I just tried to rehab it and take care of it as best as I can. I'm just happy to be at a point where I can step on the ice again."
So, too, are his teammates, who figure to get an instant lift from Alfredsson's mere presence in the lineup.
"He's your captain, he's your leader," said Senators head coach Cory Clouston. "So obviously, it's a big plus for us. We've just got to make sure the other players don't have letdowns."
"The first time hurting my shoulder, I didn't know what to expect or how long I was going to be out. I just tried to rehab it and take care of it as best as I can. I'm just happy to be at a point where I can step on the ice again." - Daniel Alfredsson
Added centre Mike Fisher: "He's missed a little bit (of time) and it'll probably take him a bit of time to get adjusted. But we don't want to change our game. The way we played the last game ... we want to play a simple road game and try to outwork (the Canadiens) tonight."
"We went through a stretch there where we struggled and lost a few. But we're still in a playoff spot and that's where we want to be. We can only get better with more bodies coming back."
Clouston also announced that Mike Brodeur will get his second straight start in goals. The Binghamton Senators callup was pressed into last-minute action Thursday night and responded with a 2-0 shutout of the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. His first National Hockey League goose egg made Brodeur a perfect 2-0-0 this season.
"It's hockey," said Brodeur, who knows always he'll be judged by his next game. "You've got to perform every night. I'm just going to come in with my best foot forward tonight and try to do my job."Around the boards
The Senators lead the current season series with the Canadiens 2-1-0, including a 3-1 victory on Oct. 17 in their only previous visit this season to Montreal ... Sens' lines during the pre-game skate: Daniel Alfredsson-Mike Fisher-Nick Foligno; Alex Kovalev-Peter Regin-Ryan Shannon; Jarkko Ruutu-Chris Kelly-Chris Neil; Jonathan Cheechoo-Zack Smith-Shean Donovan ... Ottawa wraps up its road trip Monday in Boston against the Bruins (1 p.m., no TV, Team 1200) before returning home to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).