MONTREAL - Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and two assists in his return to the Senators' lineup Saturday night after missing 11 games because of a separated left shoulder.
Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston said Filip Kuba was also ready to return after missing three games with an unspecified upper body injury, but the Czech defenceman did not play in Ottawa's 4-2 victory over the Canadiens.
Alfredsson was hurt just before Christmas and was expected to be out for between four and six weeks, but he returned just short four weeks.
"During the week I skated back in Ottawa and found I could do a little more battling and shooting, so I felt pretty confident," Alfredsson said before the game. "The biggest thing was coming here and practising with the team (on Friday).
"I felt pretty good after, and (Saturday) morning is when I felt I could play. It's the first time I hurt my shoulder. I didn't know what to expect or how long I'd be out. I just tried to rehab and take care of it. I'm just happy to be at the point where I can step on the ice again."
Mike Fisher said having the captain back was a big boost.
"It's a huge boost for us," Fisher said. "We're waiting for bodies and he's been our best player."
"He's your captain, your leader, so it's a big plus," said Clouston. "We just have to make sure the other players don't have letdowns."
The Senators are still missing star centre Jason Spezza (right knee), winger Milan Michalek (upper body), goalie Pascal Leclaire (concussion) and forward Jesse Winchester (upper body).
Alfredsson was the team's scoring leader when he was injured and while he was gone, the team had five wins and six losses, including a five-game losing run that ended with a 2-0 victory Thursday night against the Rangers in New York. In that game, Mike Brodeur made 32 saves for his first career shutout.
The 26-year-old was called up when Leclaire went down after being hit in the mask by a shot from Fisher during a team skate. That prompted the hasty call-up of Brodeur from AHL Binghamton.
Brodeur is now 3-0-0 in his three NHL starts this season after his 30-save performance against the Habs. He also got a 4-1 win Dec. 19 against Minnesota.
According to Elias Sports, Brodeur is only the fourth goalie in the modern era to start and win his first two games while allowing only one goal. The others were Mario Lessard in 1978, David Aebischer in 2000 and Al Montoya in 2009.
The Calgary native, who has bounced between the AHL and the ECHL for most of the last six seasons, believes he is only very distantly related to New Jersey Devils star goaltender Martin Brodeur.
"I was told by an uncle that it's in the family tree but he won't be at the family reunion or anything like that," Brodeur said with a laugh. "It's really distant."