Sens' top line to face Habs tonight

(L-R)Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Daniel Alfredsson. (Tony Caldwell/QMI AGENCY)

(L-R)Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Daniel Alfredsson. (Tony Caldwell/QMI AGENCY)

DON BRENNAN, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 3:29 PM ET

The Senators are bumping up their veteran count for Saturday’s preseason home opener against the Habs, when a dozen  players from last season’s lineup will suit up 24 hours after the team’s 4-2 loss in Montreal.

Defenceman Sergei Gonchar will be playing his first game for Ottawa, while the No. 1 line of Milan Michalek, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson will get its first taste of pre-season action.

Brian Elliott is starting in goal and, as of Saturday morning, is scheduled to go the distance. Robin Lehner will be his backup.

Former 67’s winger Corey Cowick will also be playing his first game as a Senator.

Secondary to winning the game, Alfredsson said the priority of he and his linemates will be establishing some early cohesiveness and chemisty.

“Timing is the biggest thing,” said Alfredsson. “Making plays at a quicker pace than you have when you first start skating in camp. (You want to) just make the young guys look good as well.

“Just make sure you give it a solid effort. I don’t think the result is the most important thing but doing the right things and making the players around you better.”

Spezza is approaching the evening the same way.

“I think first you want to get your timing back as a line,” he said. “Move the puck and get used to playing with each other again.

“I think all three of us are excited just to get into a game.”

Coach Cory Clouston wants to see a better effort than he did Friday.

“To me the biggest thing is competitiveness,” he said. “Last night I don’t think we had enough young guys compete hard enough. I really don’t. We need it to start with our veterans, but we also need guys to play as if they’re trying out for a team. They’ve got to go out there and compete, play intense, play their game. I thought we had that in Game 1, at spurts, in Game 2, but I didn’t think we had it enough last night, from enough guys.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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