This game was always going to be about the warm-up and Daniel Alfredsson's return to the ice wearing Senators colours. Watching Alfie walk down the Sens tunnel one more time and step on the ice at the Canadian Tire Centre, received by an honour guard of former teammates, was awesome. It was interesting to see Alfie interact with other Sens; there are so many here now who never played with Alfie, guys like Clarke MacArthur, Bobby Ryan, David Legwand, Curtis Lazar, and Alex Chiasson, or never more than a few games as a call-up like Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, and Mark Borowiecki. Legwand went over and said something to Alfie while a group of Senators were stretching. Clarke MacArthur gave Alfie, a man he's only ever known as an opponent, several stick taps. It is clear that new and future Sens players will be educated on how important he is to the organization. Watching Alfie stretch with Chris Phillips and Erik Karlsson was very familiar, only Jason Spezza was missing. Seeing Alfie circle the ice and salute the fans one final time was exactly what we needed to see.
Alfredsson returned to the ice for the anthems and ceremonial faceoff was another highlight. Along with wife Bibi and his four sons, fans were treated to the kind remarks they had craved since July 5, 2013. Seeing his four boys wearing Karlsson and not Alfredsson jerseys was a nice moment and kudos to both teams for realizing that the ceremonial draw should be between Ottawa's captains: Alfredsson and Karlsson.
Not a whole lot happened in the first for either team, but the Islanders got on the board at 11:45 of the second period when Brock Nelson snapped home a rebound after Craig Anderson had lost sight of the puck. The Senators didn't trail for long, as Mika Zibanejad equalized on an extended 5-on-3 after a nice back and forth with Karlsson.
The teams remained tied for much of the third period until Casey Cizakis scored to put the Isles ahead by one. It had been a relatively stable game for the Senators blueline, but a poor shift by Eric Gryba and Borowiecki contributed to the New York goal. With Alex Chiasson taking a needless late penalty, the Sens pulled Andy to play 5-on-5 in an attempt to find a second equalizer on the night. Clarke MacArthur sent an excellent pass to Erik Karlsson in the slot and the Sens captain rang a slap shot off the post with just a second on the clock. Senators fall 2-1. Shots 25-21 in favour of the Islanders.
Of note: for his first game of the season and first real action in months, Marc Methot looked pretty great out there and the Sens kept a dangerous Islanders team to just 25 shots. After being a healthy scratch recently, Mika Zibanejad had a nice night today, drawing a penalty and scoring Ottawa's loan goal. Once again, Craig Anderson put in a strong performance between the pipes with a 92.0 SV%.
Sens Hero: Daniel Alfredsson
He. Came. Back.
Shot chart via ESPN:
Game flow via Natural Stat Trick:
Highlights via NHL.com: