Alfie takes a breather

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is a perennial leader in the department of hard work....

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is a perennial leader in the department of hard work. (Ottawa Sun/Tony Caldwell)

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

If anybody can use the breather the all-star break provides, it's probably Daniel Alfredsson. Forwards really aren't supposed to play 27:52 of a regulation-time hockey game like he did Saturday night.

Especially when they're 34 years old and it's only January.

"Was I?" the Senators captain said with a grin when informed he had been on the ice for almost 28 minutes of a textbook, 3-0 victory over the Bruins in Boston. "I know I was a little tired after it."

There are reasons aplenty why Bryan Murray tapped Alfredsson on the shoulder as often as he did.

Chris Kelly missed some time getting stitches over his right eye after being rammed into the end boards by Bruins defenceman Andrew Alberts.

AntoineVermette missed even more having a nasty gash on his finger sewn up-- both Kelly and Vermette returned to action).

And then there was an abundance of power-play time presented the Senators by their undisciplined hosts.

The only real flaw in Ottawa's game Saturday was its inability to cash in more than once on 10 man-advantage opportunities.

Alfredsson, a perennial leader in the department of hard work, was out for 11:06 of the power play time and 4:26 as a penalty killer.

"It's easier to play the game when you're in the lead and you don't have to force things all the time," he said.

The Senators have been in the lead often the past month, and the play of Alfredsson is a primary reason.

Despite his contributions to the win in Boston, his scoring streak was snapped at six games. But during that stretch, he picked up 15 points.

After a slow start and an injury, he enters the break tied for 25th in league scoring with 49 points.

Alas, the stats will mean nothing to Alfredsson if the Senators suffer another early playoff elimination.

He had 103 points last season and there was talk that he needed to be traded -- that a change in the team's leadership was required -- after Ottawa was bumped off in a five-game second round series with Buffalo.

However, Alfredsson stops short when asked if the Senators are now playing a style more conducive to a successful run in the post-season by having allowed just 28 goals in the past 14 games.

He also replies with a "I've got a good memory, it's just short" when he is pressed to recall the last time the team was playing this well defensively.

"Not since (Bryan) Murray came in," he said, referring to the team's coach the last two seasons. "But we've had to. Everybody has really pulled together since the injuries (to Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher).

"We knew we couldn't make mistakes and recover from them.

"We knew we had to keep the scores down. We had to adjust and now, when we get those guys back, it's just going to give us more depth.

"It's fun working hard when you get rewarded," Alfredsson added. "We've realized we can have success this way."


Videos

Photos