DETROIT – To say it was a historic night for Daniel Alfredsson would be an understatement.
Not only did the forward score his ninth goal of the season just 26-seconds into the game and notch his 700th career assist against Calgary, but Alfredsson also scored the game-winning goal in overtime, ending the Red Wings’ 11-game home winless streak after regulation and snapping their current five-game skid at The Joe.
“It’s huge for us I mean we’re hanging in games and we’re playing some good hockey and then all of a sudden we have some lapses where we give the other team way too many chances,” Alfredsson said of the victory. “We did that at times today too but we grinded throughout the whole time, 60 minutes today and obviously Pavel’s play there at the end of regulation to draw the penalty turns out to be huge.”
Pavel Datsyuk drew a hooking penalty with less than one minute left in the third period, giving Detroit a one-man advantage heading into overtime. The center then found an open seam at 1:03 of the extra period, and fed Alfredsson for his first game-winning goal in a Detroit uniform.
“I thought we worked real hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I thought we had structure and I thought we competed, gave ourselves a chance. It’s not easy to win especially when you haven’t done a whole lot of winning and you’re playing against yourself a little bit as well mentally. I thought we stuck with the process. The game started the same way the last game started, we scored and they scored right away. Instead of folding we kept playing.
“There was a lot of good play from a lot of our young guys. Sheahan and Jurco were real strong. And obviously, Pavel with the three helpers and Alfie having a big night was very important for us.”
Alfredsson scored the first goal of the game during his first shift, scooping up a rebound from a shot by Datsyuk and slipping it by Flames goalie Karri Ramo.
The veteran forward joined the 700 Club in the second period, when his shot from the point was tipped in by center Joakim Andersson, propelling Alfredsson into history as the fourth active NHL player to reach 700 assists, joining the elite company of Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton and Teemu Selanne.
“That’s a fun thing to be scoring the goal – or at least touching the puck – on his 700th assist,” Andersson said.
But the 3-2 overtime victory over the Flames was far more important to Alfredsson than the personal accomplishment.
“I mean the win tonight is huge for us and it always feels better to score goals than to have assists but it’s a nice milestone but it’s not something that I hope I get,” Alfredsson said. “You play long enough you get to some point I guess and it’s one of those things when it’s all said and done and you’ve hung up the skates it’s something to reflect on and probably be part of.”
The three-point performance marked Alfredsson’s seventh multi-point game since joining the Red Wings, four more than he achieved in his last season with the Ottawa Senators. It also came just 24 hours after the 41-year-old took a maintenance day, missing Detroit’s outdoor practice Wednesday at Comerica Park in preparation for the Winter Classic.
“I scored on my first shift today it makes you feel a little bit better,” Alfredsson said. “I thought I had my legs a little bit more than I’ve had lately which helps create chances and be strong on the puck and also being on the receiving end of some unbelievable passes helps too.”
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