The Ottawa Senators have managed to push the top-seeded New York Rangers to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal without their captain Daniel Alfredsson, who was concussed by Carl Hagelin late in Game 2.
Hagelin's back for the Rangers in Game 6, having served his three-game suspension.
And so is Alfredsson.
The Ottawa star revealed after the morning skate on Monday that he's back in the lineup for the Senators, confirming the speculation that started building when the teams arrived back in town for Game 6.
He was "hopeful" and "encouraged" after Sunday's practice; and now, he's in, likely skating with the second line while Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek roll on the first.
The Rangers are facing an uphill climb here. Craig Anderson looks like the impenetrable playoff performer he was for the Avalanche two years ago. Jason Spezza found his offense. The power play (13.6 percent) can't seem to get that key goal at a key time for Henrik Lundqvist. Brian Boyle, one of the few Rangers making an offensive impact, is likely out for Game 6.
Now, on top of it all, Alfredsson returns in front of a home crowd that chanted his name in absence during the previous games in Ottawa.
It's a storybook moment for a first-round series that starting to look like a hockey fable being penned by the pesky Senators — and their star player who still has one more chapter to write: