Senators captain takes shot at player, but was it intentional?

OTTAWA -- And now for something completely bizarre.

With time running out in the second period of Game 4, Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson took control of the puck in the neutral zone. He made as though to dump the puck into the Ducks' zone, stopped and glanced at the score clock, changed course, wound up and drilled the puck right at Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer.

Not surprisingly, the curious play set off a series of altercations, including a heated exchange between Niedermayer and Alfredsson, two of the most restrained players in the NHL.

"I looked at the clock, there were five or six seconds left, I raised my stick, the puck kind of stopped sliding, it's in my feet, I've got to change, I just want to get rid of it," said Alfredsson. "I didn't really mean to hit him."

Senators coach Bryan Murray naturally supported his captain.

"Daniel Alfredsson doesn't do that," Murray said.

The view from the Anaheim camp was predictably different.

"You can probably figure out what I thought after it happened. Doesn't do any good to talk about it, really. I wasn't happy. No need to get hit with a puck at that point. So I'm not going to say anything more than that," Niedermayer offered.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle offered a typically blunt assessment of the incident.

"I thought it was blatant shooting the puck at our player at the end of the period," Carlyle said. "You could tell he directed it toward him because he changed the shooting angle halfway through his wind-up. People have long memories."

Roughing minors to Ottawa's Mike Fisher and Anaheim's Samuel Pahlsson were the only penalties resulting from the skirmish.

"I couldn't believe what I saw," Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne said. "I really hope that he didn't mean to hurt him because I know Alfie pretty well. I was shocked it happened. You knew he had a couple of seconds left and a whole ice available, and to try to shoot at Scotty, that's dangerous."

As one GM remarked, just as Chris Pronger knew exactly what he was doing when he elbowed Dean McAmmond during Game 3, Alfredsson knew exactly what he was doing with his shot at Niedermayer.

The big question would be, why?

Stay tuned.

Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.