Keeping the pot boiling

Craig Hartsburg had individual conversations with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley during practice....

Craig Hartsburg had individual conversations with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley during practice. (Sun Media/Errol McGihon)

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:40 PM ET

MONTREAL - The mood was testy around the Bell Centre this morning with two teams feeling the pressure to get back on the winning track.

Senators coach Craig Hartsburg called out centre Jason Spezza the other day. Then yesterday Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau gave his team an hour-long talking to before practice at the Bell Centre.

When he was asked this morning if he was worried about facing an inspired Spezza, Carbonneau replied: "I hope they're worried a little bit because of what we did yesterday. I called everybody (out) in that room, so ... they should maybe worry about us."

The Canadiens (8-2-2) are coming off a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday and a shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday. The Senators (6-6-2) dropped a 2-1 game to the Carolina Hurricanes Friday, but are 4-1-1 in their last six games.

Hartsburg had individual conversations with Spezza and linemate Dany Heatley before they left the ice after the morning skate.

"We have to be smart and not turn the puck over. That's what they want," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

The Habs will be without forward Tom Kostopolous, who will serve the first of his three-game suspension for hitting Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn into the boards from behind Saturday night in Toronto.

Kostopolous was contrite this morning.

"I hope he realizes I didn't mean to hurt him or run him from behind. I meant for it to be a clean check and it ended up in a bad situation," said Kostopolous. "I was just trying to finish my check and once I saw Mike's back, I couldn't stop. I don't know how he took it, but that's what I tried to explain to him. I have to live with that now."

Van Ryn suffered a concussion, a facial cut and a broken bone in his hand and is expected to be out for a month.

Kostopolous said he tried calling Van Ryn and wound up exchanging text messages. He didn't want to reveal the contents other than to say Van Ryn's reply "was nothing bad."

"I'll try and speak to him. I don't know if he wants to speak to me right now. I'll try and call him and explain what happened. Right now I just wish him the best and hope he gets back on the ice," said Kostopolous.

Alex Auld will be back in the Senators net tonight after Gerber took the loss in Carolina.

Carey Price will be in the Montreal goal.


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