Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Timely Return: Jason Spezza Will Be Back in Ottawa Senators Lineup for Game 3

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Timely Return: Jason Spezza Will Be Back in Ottawa Senators Lineup for Game 3

Article excerpt

Spezza to return to Senators for Game 3

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OTTAWA - It might be a lot to ask, but the Ottawa Senators are hopeful Jason Spezza will be just what they need to get back into their playoff series with Pittsburgh.

Spezza, who hasn't played since January 27 after undergoing back surgery for a herniated disc, will draw into Ottawa's lineup Sunday for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series that the Penguins lead 2-0.

"I'm excited to have a chance to play again," said Spezza. "I feel ready to play."

The 29-year-old will immediately add depth to a struggling offence 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 there."

The Senators power play has gone 1-for-7 through the first two games and it's clear they would benefit from Spezza's abilities.

Spezza's minutes will be monitored and MacLean eluded to the fact the amount could be higher or lower depending on the amount of power play time the Senators have.

Spezza is expected to line up with Milan Michalek and possibly Colin Greening.

Having Spezza back in the lineup gives the Senators offensive support, but almost more important is the emotional leverage it gives the team.

"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," said Zack Smith. "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."

While he's ready emotionally and physically Spezza acknowledges that nothing he's done can truly compare to the speed and physicality of a playoff game.

However, he's confident the work he's put in has prepared him for his return, and that what he may lack in being game-ready will be made up by excitement and anticipation.

"I'm going to try to use my excitement and try to make it a positive and not be worried about the negative."

Spezza acknowledged timing could be the biggest adjustment when he hits the ice, but is hopeful it comes back pretty quick. …

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