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Foligno savours first playoff goal

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
The puck is stored somewhere safely far away from Scotiabank Place.

Yes, Nick Foligno got his hands on the most precious of souvenirs after scoring his first National Hockey League playoff goal on Monday night. Even if it was nowhere to be seen on the morning after in his stall in the Ottawa Senators’ dressing room.

“I gave it to my mom (Janis) already,” the 20-year-old rookie forward said less than 24 hours after scoring the lone Senators goal in their 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night. “It’s gone, see you later, take it home.”

Foligno’s father – former NHLer Mike – wasn’t anywhere near Scotiabank Place to witness his son’s special moment. But he was watching, all right. Up until 4:30 a.m. way across the pond in Russia, where Mike Foligno – the coach/general manager of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves – is scouting at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Father and son finally chatted about it all earlier this morning.

“He was pretty excited for me,” Nick Foligno said with a grin.

Foligno’s goal gave the Senators a 1-0 lead in the second period but they couldn’t hold it, with three unanswered third-period goals allowing the Penguins to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“Obviously, it was a pretty big thrill, but it was nice to get the team going,” said Foligno when asked about his first NHL playoff goal. “We needed something and it was great to get a timely goal like that.

“It was just unfortunate that we didn’t get the win. That would have been sweeter than anything.”

Alfredsson looking toward Game 4

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, whose remarkable comeback from injury to play in Game 3 still had the media’s attention today, appears good to go for Game 4 as well.

Alfredsson didn’t practise with the team today but head coach/general manager Bryan Murray said “it looks like he will” suit up again on Wednesday night.

“He came out of (Monday’s) game okay,” said Murray. “We didn’t want him to skate today but the commentary I had is he probably will be able to play.”

Alfredsson suffered knee and upper body injuries during the Senators’ April 3 victory over the Maple Leafs in Toronto. Murray originally believed his captain would be sidelined for a minimum of six weeks but he stunned everyone by taking the ice for Monday’s game.

Though his return to action came much sooner than expected, Alfredsson doesn’t believe he’s taking any kind of a risk that might jeopardize his career.

“Any time you step on the ice in a sport where it’s physical, anything can happen,” he said today. “You’ve got to weigh the pros and cons for everything and I don’t see that as an issue for me.

“It was more ‘what could I do out there on the ice? Could I battle in the corner, could I take a hit?’ If I felt confident doing that, then I knew I could play.”

Murray left the decision up to Alfredsson on Monday. He’ll do the same for Game 4.

“He feels that the way he’s harnessed up right now, that he can play and nothing further will happen to him,” said Murray. “If Alfredsson tells me (Wednesday) morning that he feels he can play and contribute, then he’s going to be playing and contributing."

Bodycheck, the official playoff program of the Ottawa Senators, is now available on-line. Check it out right here.

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