Spezza to return to Senators lineup for Game 3
Jason Spezza doesn’t have much time to return to form if the
Ottawa Senators want to extend their season.
The star forward hasn’t played since Jan. 27 after undergoing
back surgery for a herniated disk. He’ll rejoin Ottawa’s lineup
Sunday for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series with
the Senators trailing 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
”I’m excited to have a chance to play again,” Spezza said. ”I
feel ready to play.”
The 29-year-old will immediately add depth to a struggling
offense and power play.
”We’re excited about the skill that he brings back to our team
and we’re looking forward to it,” said Senators coach Paul
MacLean. ”We certainly feel that he’s going to give us some help
on the power play, for sure. He can help us quite a bit
The Senators’ power play has gone 1 for 7 through the first two
Spezza’s minutes will be monitored, and MacLean suggested his
time on the ice could vary depending on the number of power plays
the Senators get.
Spezza is expected to line up with Milan Michalek and possibly
”He’s such a skilled playmaker that if you’re on the ice with
him you know to keep your stick on the ice because he finds a way
to get the puck to you,” Zack Smith said. ”When you’re playing
with guys like that, you’re just more prone to go to the net and go
to those areas and be more confident.”
Spezza hopes his timing comes back quickly.
”Basically I’m just going to go out and work hard and be
smart,” he said. ”I expect to play well.
”I wouldn’t play unless I felt I could help the team and
Spezza had two goals and three assists in just five games during
the regular season.
”It’s going to be important to be in his face right away and
make sure he doesn’t have time and space,” said Pittsburgh’s Kris
Letang. ”He’s got good hands, so he can make you look really bad.
So if you’re in his face and have a good gap, you have a better
chance of having success against him.”
The Senators are undefeated at Scotiabank Place in the playoffs
”We need to play to our identity,” MacLean said. ”We have to
try and establish our game first. What hurt us in the first two
games is not getting off to a (good) start, and we’re down in the
first three minutes of both games and catch-up hockey is losing
Despite being pulled after allowing three goals in Friday’s
game, Craig Anderson will get the start Sunday.
”They’re going to be desperate and we know this is going to be
the toughest test yet,” Sidney Crosby said. ”We need to start
well, but just a play a complete game and give ourselves a