Same ol' problems for Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- With all the personnel changes, the new look behind the bench, the talk about a fresh, harsher attitude and even with opening the season in Europe, it all looks so much the same for the Ottawa Senators.

A turnover by Jason Spezza late in overtime and suspect goaltending by Martin Gerber adds up to another loss.

Despite leading going into the third, the Senators fell 4-3 in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the season opener for both clubs at the Globe Arena in Sweden.

"I was just trying to win the hockey game and sometimes I get a little carried away and try to do it all myself," said Spezza, who tried to stickhandle by Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy at the Penguins blue-line in the final minute of overtime.

Kennedy stole the puck, skated into the Ottawa zone and his shot found a hole in Gerber -- something that happend often last night. It was Kennedy's second goal of the game, the first coming just 40 seconds into the game.

"I'm glad to get it off my back for one, and for the second I'm just excited to help the team win and get the season on a roll here," Kennedy said.

Spezza, Shean Donovan and Dany Heatley had the Ottawa goals, with Sweden's Daniel Alfreddson held off the scoresheet. Evgeni Malkin and Rob Scuderi had Pittsburgh's other goals.

"I'm a big boy and I can take criticism. I'll learn from it. I was just trying to win the hockey game. I think I'm becoming more of a mature of a player. I'll recover from stuff like that," said Spezza.

The Senators will have another go at the Penguins today and don't be surprised if head coach Craig Hartsburg taps Alex Auld for the start in the Ottawa net.

The NHL returned to Europe this weekend with regular-season openers in both the Swedish and Czech capitals.

In Prague, the New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 as Markus Naslund came through in his Rangers debut even though he wasn't the star Czech fans had hoped to see.

Signed in the off-season to replace Jaromir Jagr, the long-time Vancouver Canuck scored a goal and Brandon Dubinsky scored the winner.

"I didn't replace Jaromir I don't think anyone can," Naslund said. "I'm just trying to find my game and playing to my potential."

Many fans in the sold-out O2 Arena was quiet during the opening stages of the game, and many fans wore New York Rangers jerseys in a reminder that when they bought their tickets, Czech star Jagr was still in New York.

The Rangers still had Czechs Petr Prucha and Michal Rozsival, while Tampa Bay featured Vaclav Prospal and Radim Vrbata.

"It was a great atmosphere, the fans were really into it," Naslund said. "It was fun."

Naslund signed a two-year US$8 million deal in July after Jagr left New York as a free agent and signed with Omsk Avangard of the KHL in Russia.

Naslund scored with 1:52 remaining in the second period on a wrist shot after being fed by Scott Gomez.

Martin St. Louis tied the game 3:57 into the final period after skating past Rangers defenceman Dmitri Kalinin and firing a backhand shot past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Dubinsky had the winner on a power play with 5:44 left in the game.

The teams play again today in Prague.

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QUICK HITS:

"The CFL announced Thursday it will issue suspensions for violent acts like the helmet-to-helmet hit Edmonton Eskimos linebacker Agustin Barrenechea delivered to Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn on Sept. 26. The last time anyone saw a headshot like that was on the Zapruder film."

-- Ian Hamilton, Regina Leader-Post

"The third annual 'Women of Curling' nude calendar has gone on sale in Canada. You could say the calendar goes beyond the sport: Instead of 10 ends, you get 12."

-- Dwight Perry, Seattle Times

"Fetching mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano discussed her sport with host Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show. Noted Carano: "You can't really hide anything in the cage. Two people going at it. It's kind of like sex." Wouldn't that make ultimate fighting intimate fighting?"

-- Hamilton

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SAY WHAT?!?!

"Think about this: You remember our '05 season right? Our '05 season we were unbelievable. Our '05 season is the year everybody went to jail and got arrested ... So maybe the bad was a good thing. It sounds dumb to say, but look at it. We have cleaned house and nobody is getting in trouble anymore, no DUIs, no arrests. Now, we're getting our (backside) whopped. Maybe I don't know, maybe I should go out have a drink, get in trouble."

-- Cincinnati Bengals' receiver Chad Ocho Cinco

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NUMBERS GAME

41

The number of sellouts the Pittsburgh Penguins had at home last season -- the first time in the 42-year history of the franchise they had a full house for every home game.

OFFBEAT

A 35-year-old man in Punta Gorda, Fla., distraught over his fantasy football team, pulled a knife and accosted his roommate, slicing the man's book, holding the weapon to his throat and threatening to kill him, the Naples Daily News reported.


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