If anyone was as happy as André Benoit after he scored his first NHL goal, it might have been Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson was beaming after Alfredsson’s point shot beat Rick DiPietro for what proved to be the game-winner in a 3-1 Ottawa victory over the New York Islanders.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Benoit, who was robbed of what might have been his first goal in Montreal earlier this year when the Senators were called for goaltender interference.
Since graduating from the OHL eight years ago, Benoit has kicked around Europe, the AHL and KHL, in and around stints with the Senators farm team in Binghamton. A long road to a first NHL goal.
Benoit said he hasn’t had time for the full measure of the moment to sink in. Alfredsson understands the significance.
“It was a game-winner, a nice way to get your first one,” Alfredsson said.
“He’s a veteran, and brings that presence on the ice. He’s pretty calm out there. He doesn’t panic. He’s been around a long time and persevered through a lot of times and it’s nice to see — he’s worked really hard. We’re obviously happy for him.”
Most of the Senators, including coach Paul MacLean agreed Ottawa was probably the second-best team on the ice Tuesday.
As MacLean said, “we’ve played better and scored no goals.”
Stuff happens. It evens out, I guess.
“It’s a gritty effort,” Alfredsson said. “It’s not pretty, but it’s 20 guys working hard.”