Senators blast Bruins

DON BRENNAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

BOSTON -- The Senators broke free of the hold Tim Thomas had on them Monday afternoon.

Snapping the Bruins goalie's fingers back hardest, naturally, was Daniel Alfredsson.

Ottawa’s captain scored his second natural hat trick, the seventh career three-goal game of his illustrious career, to lead his team to an impressive 5-1 victory over Boston at TD Garden. The win moved the Senators into a tie for fifth with the B’s in the Eastern Conference.

Alfredsson, who was in a 13-game scoring slump when he suffered a separated shoulder Dec. 23, has four goals and two assists in the two games since his return.Obviously, the rust of an 11-game layoff isn’t weighing him down.

Only a day earlier, Alfredsson said the secret to ending the 11-game winning streak Thomas had against Ottawa was to get the goalie moving. He meant from post to post. But Alfredsson had Thomas moving to the bench with his second goal, the Senators’ third of the game on just nine shots, at the 10:04 mark of the second period.

“The way (Thomas has) played against us, he’s been unbelievable,” said Mike Fisher, who had three assists. “(Monday), some of the pucks, he just couldn’t see. We got a few early, and that’s what we need to do, especially on the road.”

Alfredsson completed the ’trick by blasting a shot from the point past Tuukka Rask.

“You never want somebody to be injured, but if you do have an injury, sometimes in the long run it’s good mentally and emotionally, and just physically where you can rejuvenate the batteries,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said of Alfredsson.

“It’s a tough season this year, and being able to do some real good workouts, some real good skates, and obviously coming back I feel fresher than probably anybody,” said Alfredsson.

Alex Kovalev and Jonathan Cheechoo also scored for the Senators. Filip Kuba, back in the lineup after missing four games to injury, chipped in with a pair of helpers.

In an interesting development at the other end of the ice, rookie Mike Brodeur was scratched moments from what was to be his third straight start in the Ottawa goal when he became ill before the game. Enter Brian Elliott, who battled the flu late last week and inconsistency before that.

Like Alfredsson, Elliott seems to have recovered well, too. He lost his bid for a shutout when Daniel Paille took advantage of a puck that bounced his way at 4:23 of the third, but wound up making 22 stops to claim his 11th win.

“Mike had a tough night (Sunday) night and we thought he was going to be OK, but there’s a bit of a flu bug going through the dressing room right now. Rode the bike when he got here, but he just wasn’t able to go. Little too dizzy, and the chills,” said Clouston. “Great job by Brian stepping in. I think the biggest difference though, is he was able to step back the last few games, refocus and come up with a real strong effort.”

The win was the Senators’ third in a row, with all three coming against Original Six teams on the tail end of a five-game road trip. It's the first time since November that the Senators have won three straight. Their recent resurgence will be put to the ultimate test Tuesday night, when the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks take them on at Scotiabank Place.

The Senators started slowly and didn’t register their first shot on Thomas until Fisher whipped a quick one at him 7:25 into the game. Just 14 seconds later, after taking a nice backhand pass from Fisher that snuck past Zdeno Chara, Kovalev slipped a backhand between Thomas’ legs.

Fisher teed up a blast from the top of the right-wing faceoff circle for Alfredsson almost seven minutes later, giving Ottawa a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.

“I’ve always been kind of a streaky scorer,” said Fisher, who had five assists and no goals in 15 games before Saturday’s visit to Montreal and has one goal and four assists in the last two games. “It’s when I struggled for a few weeks prior to this, that’s mentally where I’ve got to improve.”

Alfredsson extended it by tipping in a setup from Kuba that sent Thomas to the showers.

“I don’t think anything (Alfredsson) does can surprise you anymore,” said Elliott. “It’s amazing how many points he’s put up so far. To come in ... guys are playing with confidence with him in the lineup”

Any thoughts of a Bruins comeback after the Paille goal were ended at 11:05 of the third period when Cheechoo took advantage of an accidental check by referee Dan O’Rourke on Boston defenceman Dennis Wideman. Finding himself in alone, Cheechoo put a little move on Rask before slipping in his fifth goal of the season.


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