Chara's one big bruiser

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

By DON BRENNAN, OTTAWA SUN

Senators 4, Islanders 3

Get the ribs, Zdeno "Pull Up A" Chara insists in a commercial for Baton Rouge.

And that's exactly what he did when one of his big, booming slapshots found Daniel Alfredsson in front of the New York Islanders net during the second period last night.

After putting the current captain down for the evening, he worked his way back into at least the aisle of the fans' good books when he "got the chops" of the former Senators 'C' wearer in the third, a hit that helped Ottawa complete its comeback from a 3-1 deficit.

The first time Chara bounced Alexei Yashin off the boards, the big blueliner skated away yelling at the ref. "There should have been a penalty on (Yashin)," Chara explained later. "He had his stick up."

Seconds later, the Big Zee destroyed Yashin in almost the identical spot on the ice, just outside the Senators blue line, and this hit he finished violently, with a punch that really should have earned him two minutes in the box.

"I made sure I returned the favour," said Chara. "I think (there was no penalty call) because the first time he let Yashin get away with one."

Moments later on the same shift, a frustrated Yashin was sent off for hooking, and seven seconds into the power play Peter Schaefer scored to give Ottawa a 3-3 tie. Bryan Smolinski scored the winner on a strong solo effort 106 seconds from the final buzzer, with Yashin watching from the spot on the bench he had been warming up since coming back from the box about 15 minutes earlier.

"He took a penalty and I couldn't afford to put him on the ice again, and have him take another one," said Islanders coach Steve Stirling.

Chara, meanwhile, naturally felt bad for shelving Alfredsson.

"I one-timed a shot that was going for the net, and so was Alfie," he said. "It happens.

"It's hard to see a guy go down like that, especially a guy that's been playing so well and a key for us on the power play. But he's a tough dude. He'll be back."

Starts and Stops:

Denis Hamel had the first scoring chance of the game -- finding the puck on his stick after Rick DiPietro had stopped a Chris Kelly shot 3:30 into the first -- but he missed a wide open net. He had another wide open net with five minutes to go in a tied game after Vaclav Varada hit the post, but couldn't find the handle. Seconds later he was alone in front of the net with the puck on his backhand, but couldn't get it past the (Garth) Snow on the ice. Hamel was returned to Binghamton after the game ... Schaefer must have conferred briefly with Chris Phillips before his penalty shot in the first period, as he skated down the same side as Phillips did with his try Wednesday night before squarely hitting the goalie's pad with his shot. "It looked like I (asked Phillips for advice), didn't it?," said Schaefer.

Between Periods

Upon careful consideration, members of the local media think you might find Antoine "Is The Nicest Guy You've Ev" Vermette ... Smolinski had the best chance of the only Ottawa power play in the first when he hit the post behind Snow with one of his familiar sneaky wrist shots ... Schaefer has now had two close calls near his eyes after a puck went off his stick and cut his nose in Wednesday's game against Carolina. Even his brother Nolan, a San Jose Sharks goalie, is suggesting he start wearing a visor. "He sent me one for Christmas," Peter said before the game. "One of those big, old school ones. It was brutal. I might wear it during warmup for a joke." He didn't.

Things That Make You Go Hmm ...

A few minutes after Alfredsson left the game, Smolinski was hit with a shot and limped to the bench. You've got to be kidding me, right? Unlike his right winger, however, Smolinski was soon seen laughing about the incident on the bench. "Laughing like, you've got to be (&%$@ kidding me," said Smolinski, who admitted to tremendous ankle pain but said it probably would have been worse had it not been for a piece of equipment that is part of old skates he refuses to give up. Good thing, too ... For the second time this week, the couple playing Kathy's Newlywood Game have been married 13 years. Maybe they should change it to the Oldlywed Game ... Redden made a fine defensive play, tipping the puck away from Mattias Weinhandl before the Islander could fire it into the open side with nine minutes left in the third.

Punch Lines

Emery, who's been known to throw a fist or two in his life, clearly misses encounters of an unfriendly kind that marked his junior and AHL careers. When a local sportswriter told him he's still getting e-mails from Islanders fans in a flap about Emery's perceived sign of disrespect to the U.S. flag last week, the goalie just smiled. "I like that kind of stuff," he said. "E-mail them back with my address. Tell them to come visit me."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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