by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators have won 10 of their last 12 games, and their captain has played a big part in the recent success.
Daniel Alfredsson became only the second player in NHL history to score the game-winning goal in four consecutive games when he potted the decisive marker in a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
According to the stats wizards at Elias Sports Bureau, former Montreal Canadiens forward Newsy Lalonde, who was born in Cornwall, Ont., scored five straight winners 86 years ago in February 1921. Interestingly, it was Lalonde who played -- and scored -- against the Senators in the first NHL game on Dec. 19, 1917, when the Canadiens triumphed 7-4.
"Stats are sometimes just a bit lucky," Alfredsson says of his current streak. "(Game-winning goals) feel a lot better when they break a tie. In the game against New York (Rangers, on Jan. 11), I scored the fifth goal to make it 5-0 and then they came back with four goals. It turned out to be the winner."
Alfredsson's other game-winning goals during the streak came during a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Jan. 9, the 6-4 victory over the Rangers on Jan. 11 and an 8-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 13. Now Alfredsson will look to tie Lalonde's NHL record when the Senators host the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow.
Jelling on a line with Chris Kelly and Dany Heatley, Alfredsson has scored 14 points in his last five games and 22 in the 12 he has played since star centre Jason Spezza went down with a knee injury. The explosion of points has pushed Alfredsson into a tie for 21st in NHL scoring. While he's rolling along with a game-winning goal scoring streak, Alfredsson has also set a new career high by scoring a goal in five straight games.
"I'm having fun and skating well out there," Alfredsson says. "It's a lot of fun when you're winning, and it seems to be a lot easier to put the puck in the net."