Alfie enjoying role as designated killer

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson went into play yesterday tied for the NHL scoring lead.

He's playing the best hockey of his career at age 32 and has 11 points in his last three games.

It's funny how things work out.

In the aftermath of Saturday night's 6-0 win over the Islanders, Alfredsson credited the chance to kill penalties for his improved play.

Senators coach Bryan Murray has been using Alfredsson as his designated killer in 5-on-3 disadvantages.

You wouldn't think such a defensive responsibility could have such an impact on a player's offensive performance.

"It's a new responsibility and it keeps me in the game," said Alfredsson. "I like being out there and taking on a role."

DIFFERENT WITH MARTIN

It's a chance he wasn't afforded under former coach Jacques Martin on a regular basis.

Alfredsson wasn't available to kill a 5-on-3 advantage for the Islanders in the first period Saturday night because he was the first guy in the box, soon joined by Mike Fisher.

His teammates killed the 29 seconds of two-man disadvantage and then Alfredsson jumped out of the box, took a blocked shot off the shin pads of teammate Chris Phillips and scored the first goal of the game on a breakaway.

It was Alfredsson's third short-handed goal of the season.

BAD ON FACEOFFS

While he loves the chance to kill those 5-on-3s, Alfredsson is concerned with one aspect of those situations.

Faceoffs.

"I'm terrible," he said. "I'm 2-15 (ranked 334th in the league) this year. We talked about it. We're going to have (defenceman Zdeno) Chara take it and I'm just going to jump in for the loose puck," he chuckled.

"On a 3-on-5, you have to win them clean because they have two guys jumping in."

Faceoffs are huge in those situations because a win and a clear can chop 20 seconds of the disadvantage.

One of his two wins in the circle came against countryman and teammate on the Swedish Olympic team, Peter Forsberg of the Flyers.

You think that might come up when they talk?

Nah.

NOTES: The Senators next game isn't until Thursday in Boston against the Bruins. When a team is going as well as this one, four days between games is not welcome ... The Senators added to their best-ever start Saturday night. They have 11 wins in their first 13 games. Their previous best after 13 games was eight wins in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 ... The Senators are 4-0 on Saturdays -- outscoring their opponents 24-1 ... Not only did Senators G Dominik Hasek tie Patrick Roy for 13th place on the career shutouts list Saturday night, but he tied Peter Sidorkiewicz at eight wins on the Senators' career wins chart. Sidorkiewicz played 64 games in the Ottawa goal in the franchise's first year. Next up on the list: Craig Billington (1993-95) at 11 ... The Senators are averaging 19,182 fans a game or a 10.7% increase over the same number of home games in the 2003-04 season ... W Brandon Bochenski had a goal and an assist in his first game with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL on Saturday night. That wasn't enough for a win as the Senators fell 5-4 to Rochester in a shootout.


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