Spezza, ex-Sharks show flash

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

He sent Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek in for a sweet give-and-go between the two former Sharks that turned into the first goal of the game on this Statement Night at Scotiabank Place.

Alas, if only judging by a moment in the third period in which his shout of a curse word could be heard up in the press box, it would also evolve into a frustrating evening for Jason Spezza.

His first night flanked by both players acquired for Dany Heatley showed plenty of promise, however.

"I thought they were very effective," Senators coach Cory Clouston said of the new Michalek-Spezza-Cheechoo line following the 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. "They generated a lot of opportunities. With any luck they would have had two or three goals."

At least. There was the set-up to Michalek that screamed for a one-timer to finish it off. Another that Michalek rang off a post. The tidy backhand dish to Cheechoo that could not be converted into an empty net. Other passes that either turned into shots at goalie Marc-Andre Fleury or just wide of the Penguins net. Spezza could have had five assists.

To top off a hard-luck night, there was the defensive zone pass from Chris Campoli that hopped over Spezza's stick for Pittsburgh's fourth goal.

"Our line, we felt good together (last night)," said Spezza. "Me and Milan are playing together more and more now, and Cheech is a guy who's really good at getting open. The three of us coming in wanted to have a good game. Unfortunately we couldn't contribute more."

The Senators, who had a 31-28 edge in shots on goal, might have deserved a better fate. They also lacked finish. They missed NHL First Star of the Week Dany Heatley.

But with a little more time, the two guys they got in the trade with the Sharks should score a bunch themselves.

Makes you go hmmm...

G Pascal Leclaire should have had the Tyler Kennedy slap shot that beat him high stick side with 1:58 left in the second. It wasn't screened, it wasn't deflected. He just missed it ... Is it too early to list the Bruins as favourites in the Taylor Hall Derby? How did they know the Leafs would be this bad?

Starts and stops

D Anton Volchenkov was sent to the box after Chris Kunitz ran into him from behind at the nine-second mark. The call was tripping but in reality, A-Train was penalized for having a big butt .... The fourth line was dangerous again, especially in the second, when Jarkko Ruutu stripped Sergei Gonchar in creating chances for linemates Chris Kelly and Shean Donovan, and later on when they had scoring chances vs. the Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Bill Guerin troika ... At 6-foot-4, 230 lbs. and being from Winchester, Cheapseats hereby dubs the Sens' No. 39 Matt "Big Country" Carkner.

Sticky situation The Senators should have known it wasn't their night when Jason Spezza was rushing through the neutral zone on a developing 2-on-1 when the puck hit a discarded stick, causing the play to go offside.

Love to hate The Kid

D Anton Volchenkov was cheered for a hit on Tyler Kennedy after the little Penguin slipped by Chris Phillips. A bigger roar was heard just seconds later, when Phillips put Sidney Crosby on his behind.

Talkin' baseball

C Ryan Shannon returned from an "upper body" (guess head) injury that kept him out of three games. The team "advises" players against discussing injuries, but we had to ask the staunch Yankees fan for an ALCS prediction. Shannon's "concerned about A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada's relationship," but doesn't believe it will hurt the Yanks vs. the Los Angeles Angels: "No, I think they're going to (beat the Angels)," said Shannon. "It's gonna go five." Yup, he was bumped in the head. Los Angeles in six.

Up Next

The Senators host the Lightning on Thursday (7:30 p.m., TSN).

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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