Senators 8, Maple Leafs 2
Jason Spezza got his first "Gordie Howe" last night.
It could turn out to be an expensive one for the Senators centre.
Spezza had a goal, two assists and instigated a fight in the waning minutes of the Senators' 8-2 win over the Maple Leafs last night in front of a Corel Centre record crowd of 19,935.
If the instigator charge stands, Spezza will be suspended for Tuesday night's game against the Canadiens in Montreal and Senators coach Bryan Murray will be slapped with a $20,000 fine.
'I WAS ANGRY'
"I don't get angry very often -- but I was angry," said Spezza, who was apparently speared by Toronto defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo with less than four minutes left in the game.
"It was one of those things. I was just trying to protect myself."
The instigator penalty and suspension, as well as the fine (Murray's is double the usual $10,000 because it's the second time it's happened with the Senators this season) could be withdrawn by NHL vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.
An instigator penalty against Coyotes forward Shane Doan was rescinded earlier this year.
"Hopefully, Colie reviews it and takes it away and does whatever to make it a moot point," said Spezza.
Toronto GM John Ferguson, Jr., agreed.
"I don't think they should suspend a guy like Jason Spezza," said Ferguson. "The intent of the rule is there to prevent sending out certain guys at the end of the game. I would think the Shane Doan ruling would apply here."
Murray said he would be "awfully disappointed" if the suspension and fine were not rescinded.
"The guy (Colaiacovo) stuck him and he responded," said Murray. "I don't know if he's ever had a fight before. He was awfully upset."
The Spezza incident was the centrepiece of a wild finish to a game that had gotten out of hand on the scoreboard thanks to a Senators team record six power-play goals (6-for-11) on the night as Ottawa ran its record against the Leafs to 4-0 this season.
Spezza and linemates Daniel Alfredsson (goal and two assists) and Dany Heatley (goal and an assist) combined for eight points as The Spizza Line delivered slices of pizza once again.
It got back on track after some pointed words from coach Murray earlier in the day.
"Bryan called us out in the dressing room," said Spezza. "He wanted us to shorten our shifts and for us to be good players, we have to be good in the big games. He wasn't beating around the bush when he talked to us (yesterday)."
The Senators were also boosted by the return of blueliner Wade Redden, who missed the last 10 games. He had a goal and two assists.
There was also another strong effort from Bryan Smolinski (goal and assist).
The Ottawa power play, which had been 3-for-30 in the last four games going into last night, caught fire, sparked in large part by the return of Redden.
He scored his fifth goal of the season at 11:05 of the second period to make it 3-1 for the Senators. He barged through the middle to help set the table for Alfredsson's 22nd goal to make it 6-2.
The Senators lost rookie winger Brandon Bochenski with a suspected separated right shoulder after he went hard into the boards after getting tangled up with Toronto defenceman Aki Berg.