Extra Spezza deliveries again

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

Jason Spezza is once again setting the table and feeding his friends like few others in the NHL can.

A game after making the outstanding pass to Dany Heatley that led to the Chris Phillips comeback-completing goal in Pittsburgh, Spezza spun more magic against the Sabres.

He teed up Heatley for Ottawa's first goal, then presented Daniel Alfredsson with a gift the captain turned into the game-winner last night.

That play, in the fourth minute of the third period, was started by Filip Kuba, who broke up a Sabres shorthanded rush, then sent Spezza on a 2-on-1 with Alfredsson.

Spezza held on to the puck, kicked up his left leg to freeze for a fraction both defenceman and goalie, then feathered a pass to Alfredsson which was easily relayed into the top of the net.

Spezza has seven assists and 10 points in the last seven games, six of which have been Ottawa victories. Alfredsson also has 10 points, including four goals, during that stretch.

"Maybe I'm holding it for a second longer and finding the seam," Spezza said when asked why sticks and legs don't seem to be getting in the way of his feeds as often these days. "I think when we were struggling, there were a few plays that were just unlucky and would come back on you. Now maybe I'm just a little more patient with the puck and have a little more freedom to hang on to it longer.

"I just have more confidence in my own game."

And quite often, as Spezza goes, so go the Senators.

STARTS AND STOPS

Giving Patrick Lalime a rest in the Buffalo goal was former Leafs 'tender Mikael Tellqvist, who was solid enough in stopping 32-of-36 shots. Also defending well was Swords blueliner Toni Lydman, especially when Tellqvist was on the bench. He dove to prevent Chris Neil from scoring an empty-netter in the final seconds and then went to the crease to turn aside a Spezza slapper ... Scotiabank Place patrons gave a very nice standing ovation to Brian Kilrea and Bert O'Brien as the 67's coach and his assistant were captured on the video screen, dressed resplendently in green. It threatened to turn into a long one (by Ottawa standards), until Mr. Music Man inexplicably interrupted by cranking a tune over the P.A. ... In the span of oh, two seconds, Anton Volchenkov went from goat to hero. First he was undressed by Thomas Vanek, then, on an outstanding defensive play, he dove back to strip the puck from the Sabres star and start an Ottawa rush.

BETWEEN PERIODS

In 3 1/2 seasons living on Long Island, Chris Campoli never saw anything like the drug bust made by a gun-wielding cop witnessed in the Byward Market on the weekend. Stuff like that could turn a guy into a stay-at-home defenceman ... Sabres tough guy Andrew Peters played for the first time in 18 games (he had actually just 2:28 of ice time since Feb. 2), but never did offer up Buffalo fingers to Jarkko Ruutu on this night ... A little bug in Mike Comrie's system prevented Cory Clouston from going with his originally-planned line combinations, one of which had Comrie playing alongside Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson. "(Comrie) has the Alfie flu," Fisher joked after the morning skate, suggesting No. 89 didn't want to play with No. 11. Fisher also made a confession -- on behalf of the captain. "Alfie couldn't sleep (Monday) night, he was so excited to be playing with me," he said with a snicker.

THINGS I THINK I THINK

Going coast-to-coast like buttered toast, then bumping a guy off the puck (even if the guy is Andrej Sekera) should be worth some kind of point, no? Maybe the point is Brendan Bell deserves to be part of this team's future ... For a Kelly, Chris sure was grumpy on St. Patrick's Day morning ... Best green outfits of the night were on the two girls who LOST the dance-for-your-dinner contest in the third. Okay, maybe it wasn't their shirts that were so special. We still demand a re-count ... Sometimes two plus two does not equal four. Like, how is it the Senators entered the night victorious in 5-of-6 despite surrendering the first goal in each of the previous four games and had given up 16 power-play goals, while scoring nine with the man advantage, in their previous 12? Those are generally not winning numbers.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM....

Shean Donovan was in the process of scoring one of the Senators' most spectacular goals of the season when, all of a sudden, the puck disappeared. "I have no idea where it went," said Donovan, who sped around a defenceman, then deked Tellqvist before attempting to deposit a shot in the open net. "I pulled it through and had him beat, but when I tried to push it through, I guess he got a piece of it." ... Best backcheck of the night came from Dany Heatley, who hustled to knock the puck off Maxim Afinogenov's stick in the third ... The Sabres didn't even get many shots on the Senators defenders. Nobody, not even Volchenkov, had more than one block.


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