Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza was his usual smiling self Monday, seemingly suffering no ill effects after Ottawa's grinding double-overtime victory Sunday.
Spezza, who played for the first time since a herniated disc in his back shelved him on Jan. 27, had a relatively steady night, finishing with 18:40 of ice time and winning 60 percent of his faceoffs. He is a huge addition to the Senators lineup and should help Ottawa upfront vs. a strong Penguins team.
Craig Anderson was great in the Senators 4-1 series win over the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. He posted the fifth best GAA (1.80) and was tied for second in SV% (.950). He has the daunting task of facing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang... The list goes on and on with this Penguins team. Anderson will need to be Ottawa's best player in this series if they're going to shock the Penguins.
Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza was on the ice with teammates at practice on Sunday morning for the first time since having back surgery.
Spezza appeared in just five games this season, scoring two goals and adding three assists, before being forced to have surgery on a herniated disc. Spezza last played on January 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who will be the Senators opponents in the second round of the playoffs. However, Senators head coach Paul MacLean poured cold water on any talk of an imminent return. "He's a long ways away," said MacLean after practice.
Anderson played very well in a penalty filled Game 3. He stopped 33 of 34 shots in a 6-1 win to take a 2-1 series lead. Anderson ranks seventh in GAA (2.01) and first in SV% (.949) so far in the playoffs.
Anderson was awesome early in the year. He was 8-4-2- with a 1.46 GAA and .952 SV% before suffering an ankle injury that kept him out for over a month. When he returned in April he went 4-5-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .917 SV%. He will need to be on top of his game if the Sens are going to out the Habs.
It will be Lehner's first start since April 11th when he allowed just one tally in a win over the Flyers. The Sens will take on the Penguins in the first round if they can't beat the Bruins tonight. If they win they will move to seventh and take on Montreal. Lehner could make for an OK start.
He was expected to miss 4-6 months when he had his Achilles tendon 70% severed in February. It is almost unbelievable but Karlsson will in fact be in the Senators lineup tonight. He will be paired with Marc Methot. If you picked him up in a daily league, you're probably pretty happy right now. Get him in your lineup!