Regin fitting in on Sens' top line

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:46 PM ET

From “Heater” to Peter, the Senators’ top line has a sharp new look since the last three times the team was in the playoffs.

When Milan Michalek suffered a knee injury in March, Ottawa had to figure out who would skate with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.

Peter Regin was an unlikely candidate, seeing as he was then languishing on the fourth line. Once given the chance, he made the most of it.

And now, the swift Dane enters his first NHL post-season trying to make a difference where 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley failed — as the left winger on the first unit in a playoff against the Penguins.

“He’s a good fit because he’s smart, he can read the play,” said Spezza. “He knows when to jump in, when to stay out. He reads the game well. That’s probably why he’s fit in with us so well.

“Heater fits in on any line. He’s a guy who can shoot one-timers from anywhere,” Spezza added. “But Petey’s a good fit for us because he’s so smart.”

Regin, who turns 24 Friday, had four goals and four assists in the team’s last nine games. He was a team-high plus-10 — not bad for a guy who came to camp fighting for an NHL job, then spent a part of the season just clinging on to it.

Regin admits it’s all been a little bit overwhelming.

“I’m sure if we would have talked about that in the summer last year, I would never have thought about that,” he said. “But the season went slow, and I kept playing and my role became more and more important, when guys were hurt. I came in slow, kind of, so I always had my head with me all the time.

“I didn’t just go from being nothing to the first line right away. I kind of took the long slow way. So mentally, I’ve been there all the time. I’ve known what’s been going on.”

Regin is fired up about the chance to start forging a reputation as a money player.

High stakes

“It’s a huge opportunity for everybody,” he said. “Especially for young guys to prove that you can play when there’s a lot at stake.

“It’s going to be more intense, I’m sure. I’ve watched the playoffs the last five, six years. But it’s different when you watch it on TV. I’m sure it’s more intense when you’re out there than the regular season. You could even feel the last couple of games when we didn’t have much to play for, the intensity level wasn’t there.”

Regin’s most recent playoff experience came in his homeland and in Sweden.

“I won the championship twice in Denmark,” he said. “It’s just the Danish league, but it’s still three rounds and best-of-seven. Then we went to the quarter-finals once, lost in overtime Game 7 in Sweden, then to the semi-finals once.”

Regin has performed well with the chips down before.

“My last year in Sweden I was leading the scoring race after the quarter-finals,” he said. “At least the quarter-finals was good. I was shut down in the semi-finals. We had a pretty good line and we played against a great checking line the whole series. They just wore us down. We were good in the first couple of games, but after that we didn’t do much. There was a guy on us all the time. That’s the way it is sometimes.”

He doesn’t expect to be staggered by the difference playing in the NHL playoffs.

“I guess its way bigger here, but it’s still hockey. It’s still the same game. I’m trying not to get too nervous. I won’t try to change my game a whole lot. It will be tough the first couple of shifts. We’ll probably just run around and hit guys, and then I’m sure it will settle down and be back to normal hockey.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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