Posted January 31, 2013 on
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Balanced production has the Ottawa Senators off to a strong start, and they may need it to continue for some time.
With top center Jason Spezza out indefinitely, the Senators try for a third consecutive victory overall and some rare road success against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Ottawa (5-1-1) ranks among the NHL leaders with 24 goals and it's gotten that production from 13 players. Daniel Alfredsson was one of five Senators with a goal and 12 with a point in a 5-1 win over Montreal on Wednesday.
"It's goal scoring by committee,'' said coach Paul MacLean, who has watched seven of his players score eight goals in the last two games. "We're going to have to be that hard-working team that grinds out some goals. We did that (Wednesday) and we have to continue to do it.''
The Senators will need that type of team effort to offset the absence of Spezza, who will undergo back surgery Friday to address a herniated disc. Spezza, who has missed the last two contests after getting injured, has two goals and three assists in five games.
"We are hoping that he gets back at the later part of the season and, if we're in the playoffs, (he) will be able to participate at that time," general manager Bryan Murray told NHL.com.
Ottawa knows it will have to maintain its identity as a team that gets contributions from everyone to continue its success.
"We know we have to work hard every night and that's what we do,'' said Alfredsson, who has a goal and three assists in the last three contests. "When you've got good things going for you it's a lot easier obviously.''
Center Mika Zibanejad, the sixth overall pick in 2011, had one assist in nine games last season but notched his first career goal against the Canadiens. It came after the 19-year-old recorded an assist in a 3-2 win over Washington on Tuesday in his season debut.
"I think he's even more relaxed than he was last year in the first nine games when he played with us,'' MacLean said. "I think he has a little more maturity and I think he's shown that he appreciates being in the NHL.''
Craig Anderson looked relaxed while stopping 31 shots Wednesday to improve to 5-0-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average.
Anderson is 2-0-3 with a 2.67 GAA at Raleigh, but the Hurricanes are 8-0-1 at home against the Senators since a 6-0 loss there Dec. 12, 2007. Ottawa's lone victory in the last nine road games against Carolina came in a shootout, 3-2 on Oct. 25, 2011.
Carolina (2-3-0) has won five of seven overall against the Senators but is looking to bounce back from a 5-3 home loss to Boston on Monday. The Hurricanes rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits before allowing the Bruins to score twice in the third period.
Eric Staal had a goal and an assist and Jeff Skinner also scored for Carolina, which is 3 of 26 on the power play after failing on all six chances Monday.
"We've got to get the job done and get production on the power play," coach Kirk Muller told the Hurricanes' official website.
Staal has totaled all four of his goals and two assists in the last three games, while Skinner has scored all of his team-leading five goals in a career-high four straight contests.
Carolina's Cam Ward is 1-3-0 with a 4.51 GAA this season but 6-1-1 with a 1.97 GAA at home versus Ottawa.
Veteran Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar is expected back in the lineup Friday after missing one game.
BEST OF MAXIM
Ottawa Senators star Jason Spezza will miss two months after having back surgery to repair a herniated disc, general manager Bryan Murray announced at a press conference today.
"I can't give you a time frame (on Spezza's return) simply because until the surgery and rehab starts we won't know the total extent," said Murray. "We are hoping that he gets back...
Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza will have back surgery on a herniated disc.
Senators' general manager Bryan Murray says Spezza will have surgery in Toronto on Friday.
Spezza had missed the Senators' previous two games. He has two goals and three assists in five games this season. He had 34 goals and 50 assists in 80 games last season.
Ottawa is off to a 5-1-1 start...
Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza will undergo back surgery and is out indefinitely, general manager Bryan Murray said in a press conference on Thursday. The procedure, which will address a herniated disc in Spezza's back, is schedule to take place on Friday in Toronto. The first-line center suffered the injury during Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had missed...
The Ottawa Senators improved to 5-1-1 on Wednesday night, but they found out Thursday they may be without their top center for possibly the rest of the season.
Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray announced Thursday that Jason Spezza, who has a history of back problems, is out indefinitely with another back issue. The center will undergo surgery Friday to repair a herniated disc in...
Jason Spezza might be one of the first major injury casualties of the 2013 season. The Ottawa Senators forward will require back surgery to fix a herniated disc he was believed to have injured at some point during the team's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 27th.
Currently, there's no time frame set for Spezza's return, but it's believed he will...
Jason Spezza is still being evaluated by doctors and will not play tonight vs MTL.
— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 30, 2013
No one is saying explicitly what's going on with Spezza and the "upper-body injury" which has kept him off the ice since Sunday. But when Jason was spotted yesterday en route to Toronto purportedly to see a specialist, well conclusions...
The cone of silence in the organization surrounding Jason Spezza's condition was lifted this morning.
Bryan Murray announced that Spezza is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a herniated disc. Murray was hopeful it wouldn't be the end of his season and that Jason could return late in the regular season, or for the playoffs.
It should be noted, Spezza underwent...
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The Ottawa Senators may be off to one of their best starts in franchise history, but optimism has been tremendously dialed-down after the organization lost their star player -- center Jason Spezza -- to potentially season-ending back surgery.
Ottawa beat both Washington and Montreal in Spezza's absence as he actively sought consultation...
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The news most Ottawa Senators fans feared was confirmed by General Manager Bryan Murray late Thursday morning.
Jason Spezza, who suffered a back-injury in Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, will undergo surgery this Friday in Toronto. The team has diagnosed the injury specifically as a herniated disc, an injury not dissimilar...
With the weekday heavy start to the season, tonight will be the first Canes game (in person) for my kids. 30 minutes until departure and I am amped up and working to get the rest of the crew ready to go to.
Quick preview to tonight's game:
--Ottawa is playing pretty well and getting good goaltending from Craig Anderson who will be in net tonight. Minus Jason Spezza who...