Hatred aside, no team could have handled the return of their ex-captain better than Ottawa did tonight.
To boo or not to boo, that was the question. For the majority of Senators fans, the latter was the preferred choice. The Senators wisely chose to honor their former captain. In addition to this surprisingly emotional video tribute that aired prior to the game, many fans decided to honor Alfredsson, through a variety of different forms, including a funeral...
After a couple of standing ovations and an elegantly raised stick from Alfredsson, the puck could finally be dropped.
The first period kicked off with a pair of penalties against the Wings, one being my pet peeve, the "too many men on the ice" penalty. The only penalty that is worse is the delay of game one, simply because both penalties are so avoidable.
Darren Helm, who hasn't been himself lately, got right back to where he belongs with a breakaway with 9 minutes left in the 1st period. The Helm of recent days would have buried that baby before Lehner would have been able to say "Hjälp!", but after finding himself, Helm realized that he's not Pavel Datsyuk, and didn't score.
Fast forward to the second period, it's 11 minutes left in the period and Jakub Kindl sent a beautiful stretch pass over to Johan Franzen. The Mule skated forward before sending a rocket of a shot past Lehner to give the Wings the 1-0 lead. The other assist on the goal? Daniel Alfredsson.
Shortly after the goal, Mike, a.k.a. @RedWings3RDP, basically summed up my feelings about the Senators.
Pretty sure I heard Sens fans cheer when Alfie's name was announced on the assist. Again, scumbag team, good fans.
Pretty sure I heard Sens fans cheer when Alfie's name was announced on the assist. Again, scumbag team, good fans.— Mike (@RedWings3RDP) December 1, 2013
Three minutes later the Wings would strike again. Kronwall sent a stretch pass over to Tomas Tatar that was extremely reminiscent of the pass that Kindl had sent just a few minutes earlier. Tatar then sent a pass over to Drew Miller who wouldn't disappoint and would give the Wings the 2-0 lead.
Shortly after a Red Wings PP, the Senators would get a pair of chances. Jonathan Ericsson would block the first chance, but just 30 seconds later the Senators would get a second chance through Clark MacArthur, who would score, despite a couple of Red Wings laying in front of the goal. This gave the Senators some energy, which is the last thing that you want to give a team in an emotionally filled game. That's like Hockey 101.
Towards the end of the second period there were some clear boo's that could be heard when Alfredsson touched the puck. I thought this was interesting as we hadn't heard any earlier on in the game.
The 3rd period started off in the best possible fashion. Brenden Smith passed the puck to Drew Miller who would score his second goal of the night! Forget Alfredsson, it's Miller time!
Despite a 3-1 lead, the end of the 3rd period would bring some drama for the Wings. First, Mika Zibanejad scored to put the Sens within one. 20 seconds later, Daniel Alfredsson would score an empty-net goal to seal the deal for the Red Wings. A 4-2 victory over the Sens and 2 points from Daniel Alfredsson. You really couldn't have asked for more on a night like tonight.
Overall, this was a great performance by the Red Wings. With all of the Alfredsson hype surrounding the game, it was nice to go in and get a solid win. The Wings have now won 4 straight games. Without Pavel Datsyuk. Who would have thought that he was the problem all along?
Your player of the game is Daniel Alfredsson.
Regardless of the result, this was a such an important game for both Alfredsson and the Senators. A lot of the tension between the two sides was resolved today, including the question as to whether #11 would be retired in Ottawa. This is what Melnyk had to say about that:
"If I was a betting man, I’d bet on it," Melnyk said when asked about the jersey retirement after hedging slightly by saying "nothing’s a gimme."
It seems as if some of the wounds have healed. Which is good, because no one wants to see a guy like Alfredsson being bombarded with hate because of a decision to go elsewhere for what probably will be the last season of his career. The hostility will remain, but hopefully the hatred will subside.
Next up for the Red Wings are the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
Let's Go Red Wings!