ST. LOUIS -- Jason Spezza gave his stick a good talking to yesterday morning.
Apparently, it didn't listen.
Spezza had a chance to give the Senators a 2-0 lead against the Blues around the 12-minute mark of the first period of last night's game at Scottrade Center, but his shot at the open side went wide left. The extra cushion would have come in handy for a team that still trails all others in the NHL's 'goals for' category. It might have even set a new trend for the game.
Instead, the Senators again struggled to find the mark and finally had to rely on a rookie playing just his third NHL game to beat the Western Conference's worst team.
Peter Regin's goal with just 1:57 remaining in the third period proved to be the winner in a 3-1 defeat of the Blues. Mike Fisher added an empty-netter, his second goal of the game, to seal the victory with 34 seconds left.
Regin, who saw just 6:56 of ice time, scored with a shot off a wraparound.
"I was happy to help the team get the win, it was a huge win for us," said Regin, only the fifth Dane to play in the NHL. "I'm pretty excited to get my first goal in the NHL, too.
"It's something I dreamed about as a kid."
Regin described the goal as a bit of an accident.
"It was pretty open, that side of the net. I think all the 'D' came to the other side. I tried to shoot high and I missed it a little. I think it went between (goalie Chris Mason's) legs. That's often how you score ... when you miss your shot a little."
Ottawa couldn't take advantage of a team that has given up the second-most goals in the Western Conference, even though the Senators had a total of five power plays.
For a two-man advantage that lasted 1:34 through the second period and into the third, coach Craig Hartsburg went with five fowards -- Spezza, Fisher, Antoine Vermette up front, with Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfresson on the points. The closest they came to scoring was a with a shot from Heatley that hit the post.
The Senators , who survived a Nick Foligno penalty with the score 1-1 and just over five minutes to play, outshot the Blues 30-23.
In his seventh straight start in goal, Brian Elliott put forth another solid effort.
Spezza, who's counted on to produce, is feeling the strain.
During the morning skate -- and without realizing anyone was watching -- he skated away from a drill with his eyes angrily glaring at his stick. He then uttered three harsh words to it that he later asked not be repeated in this space.
Asked for details about the scolding of his blade, Spezza at first feigned ignorance.
"I just talk to myself a little bit out there, I don't know if I talk to my stick in particular," he said.
Nope. You were clearly talking to your stick, he was told. You looked like you wanted to destroy the thing.
"It let me down," Spezza finally admitted with a chuckle. "It flexed too much, I just wasn't happy with it."
And yet it made it through the practice.
"If we weren't on a road trip," Spezza said. "It probably wouldn't have.
"Every athlete talks to themselves and their equipment. I guess I'm no different."
The Senators were slow to start once again, as nearly the entire first three minutes of the game was played in their end of the ice. Luckily for them, the Blues couldn't take advantage.
Fisher broke the ice with a great solo effort while Jarkko Ruutu sat in the box. It was just the fourth short-handed goal of the season for the Senators.
The lead did not last a full three minutes.
Defenceman Jason Smith, making his return to the lineup after a one game visit to the healthy scratch list, appeared slow to cover Jeff Woywitka and the Blues defenceman ventured deep into Ottawa territory to set up a wide-open Brad Winchester for the equalizer.
Hartsburg was happy with the play of his team.
"It was 60 minutes of hard working battle," he said. "That's what we've been asking for. For the most part, we battled. It's a good start for us."
The Senators play the Blue Jackets in Columbus tonight.