The adage of having your best players being your best players was never more valid than the 19:31 mark of the third period in last night's Game 3 between the Penguins and Senators.
When his team needed him the most, captain Daniel Alfredsson, the greatest player in franchise's history by any measure, came through with a game-tying short-handed goal which forced overtime. The Senators eventually won the game in the second overtime, 2-1, and got back into the semifinal round series which they now trail, 2-1.
After the game, the 40-year-old Alfredsson broke down his improbable goal:
How did you get so open on the play?
“We did a couple of criss-crosses and I think that confused them for who had who for them. I’m sure they’re going to look at the tape and go over it. [Senators forward Milan Michalek] was able to get the pass from [defenseman Sergei Gonchar]. He drew two guys to him and had some time to find and look for me. I was coming with some pretty good speed and that’s a tough play for the goalie.”
What does this win mean to the series?
“When you get rewarded and score the goal, you could feel the whole building the way it erupted. It gives you energy. It’s a great feeling. I’m sure it hurts for them. They could have put a stranglehold on us and now we’re right back in it.”
Is that a designed or structured play which led to your goal?
“No. Read and react. My first thought when I get the puck is to skate it up myself. Their first forechecker kind of cuts me off so I want to draw him to me. I give it to [Gonchar] so he can get past him. Then he makes a couple of great moves in the neutral zone to draw the people to him and dish it out to the side. I just kept my speed to the outside and I don’t think they picked me up.”
Is that the latest regulation goal you've ever scored?
“I think I’ve had later. I should. I’ve been here forever.”