OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators' top center, Jason Spezza, will return to the team's lineup in Game 3 of their second-round NHL playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday evening after missing most of the season with a back injury.
Both Spezza, who played only five games after the start of the lockout-shortened season before being lost to the injury, and head coach Paul MacLean confirmed that Spezza would play Sunday after a team workout Saturday afternoon.
The Senators are facing a 2-0 series deficit and are desperate for the kind of offense Spezza can generate. MacLean said he won't know how much Spezza will play until he sees how he starts the game but expects he will be a boon to the team's power play.
Ottawa has been out-scored 8-4 in the first two games of the series. Spezza said he has been cleared by doctors but obviously it will be a big step going from practice to playoff hockey.
"I've gone through a full recovery. Obviously being off a long time you're never going to be quite the same right away but the doctors said I'm fine. I've put in the work. It's not like I'm just expecting to play out of the blue I've been putting in time here for a while. A lot of skating, a lot of build-up towards it so I think I'm ready to go," he said. "I anticipate everything feeling good and excited to be back."