Sens feel Alfie's pain

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

Senators 4, Islanders 3

I'M guessing there can't be many things more painful in hockey than Zdeno Chara hitting you in the ribs with a blast from the point.

Then again, if you're a Senators fan, seeing captain Daniel Alfredsson crawl painfully off the ice last night after getting hit by Chara might be close.

Alfredsson suffered a cracked rib and will be out at least a week, while the Senators went on to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders in front of yet another record Corel Centre crowd of 20,055.

"It was painful. It knocked the wind out of me," said Alfredsson, who had scored his 25th goal of the season earlier in the game. Chara hit him about eight minutes into the second period as Alfredsson circled in front of the Islanders' net.

"It wasn't any fun, but it's feeling a lot better now. Hopefully, it'll be a pain I can tolerate."

Alfredsson joins a lengthening injury list with Jason Spezza missing his fifth game with a chest injury last night and Martin Havlat out with a bad shoulder for maybe the rest of the regular season.

SPEZZA COULD RETURN

Spezza could be back for Monday afternoon's meeting with the Atlanta Thrashers.

"That's the way it goes. Hopefully, we'll have Spezza back soon," said Alfredsson. "We've been having guys step up every night and that was the case again tonight. We keep finding ways to win."

With just under two minutes to go in regulation, Bryan Smolinksi sliced through the Islanders defence and deked goaltender Garth Snow for the winner.

"You see (Alfredsson) crawling off the ice and you think, 'Z, stop shooting the puck so hard,' " said Smolinski. "You're looking at (Alfredsson) dropping his glove and in some serious pain. It's scary."

The shot hit him on the right side and Alfredsson cringed, headed for the bench and then dropped to one knee. He leaned on his stick to get back to his feet, then dropped his right glove as he got to the bench.

Alfredsson, an MVP candidate, was taken to hospital for tests, but returned and met the media after the game. The Senators needed goals by Dany Heatley (his 25th) late in the second and a power-play goal by Peter Schaefer (his eighth) to crawl out of a 3-1 hole.

"I guess winning creates more winning," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "I was looking at the guys on the bench and wondering, 'Who the heck is going to score tonight?' In the latter part of the game, it was not our most creative group left. You just have to keep plugging away. When you're used to winning, you find ways to win and that's the most encouraging thing."

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro left the game with a knee injury on Alfredsson's goal as Smolinski landed on him in the crease.

The win allowed the Sens to sweep their season series (4-0) vs. the Isles, outscoring them 20-7.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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