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Melnyk salutes Sens captain's grand milestone

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Daniel Alfredsson (right) smiles as he receives congratulations from Senators teammate Chris Phillips after scoring his third goal in Ottawa's 4-2 victory over the Sabres Friday night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. It was 1,000th career NHL point (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images).

The Ottawa Senators' No. 1 fan has never hid his admiration for his team's captain.

Team owner Eugene Melnyk got one more reason Friday night to heap some praise upon Daniel Alfredsson.

With a hat trick at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, Alfredsson not only fuelled a much-needed 4-2 victory over the Sabres but also reached the 1,000-point career plateau. The achievement was reached on an empty-net goal with 22 seconds to play, making Alfredsson only the 75th player in National Hockey League history to reach that milestone.

Melnyk called Alfredsson after the game to offer his congratulations, then offered up further thoughts about the NHL's longest-serving captain earlier today.

“Plain and simple, it was a great display of leadership by Daniel," said Melnyk. "When your team needs a win, you lean on your captain. It’s during a key game like that when leadership matters most. Daniel responded like I knew he would, and like he always does.

While Alfredsson seemed to revel more in the victory that pushed the Senators' record to 2-4-1 heading into tonight's matchup with the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200), Melnyk lauded the latest achievement by a player who suited up for his 1,000th NHL game in the final week of the 2009-10 season.

"Only 70 players have played 1,000 career NHL games and eclipsed 1,000 points," said Melnyk. "Friday night’s performance by Daniel has placed himself firmly among the greatest to ever play the game.”

Senators fans got their chance to salute their beloved captain a little more than six minutes into the first period of the game against the Canadiens, when Alfredsson achievement was acknowledged at Scotiabank Place during the first TV timeout.

A tribute video played on the arena scoreboard as the Sens Army faithful cut loose with a thunderous standing ovation. The power ring between the 100 and 200 levels lit up with "Alfredsson 1,000" as U2's Beautiful Day — the song traditionally heard every time Alfredsson's scores a goal at home — played along with the cheers from the crowd. 

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