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Senators' Spezza ready for home opener

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- With six road games under his belt, Jason Spezza has had an opportunity to get used to wearing the captain's "C" on his white Ottawa Senators jersey.

Thursday he gets to trot out his red home jersey when fans at Canadian Tire Centre begin to experience life after longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson when the Senators finally play their home opener, against the New Jersey Devils.

"It'll be special, for sure," said Spezza, who scored a natural hat trick Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime win at the Phoenix Coyotes. "It's the home opener, and the first time being announced as captain here, so I'm looking forward to it. Like I've said all along, it's a big honor and I'm excited to be able to finally play a home game with the 'C.'"

The Senators return from the West Coast with a 2-2-2 mark following their win in Phoenix. Cory Conacher scored the winner to end Ottawa's four-game skid (0-2-2) that included three straight losses in California.

"As frustrating as some of the games were, it was kind of good to get that long trip out of the way early really to bond as a group and do things as a team," Senators center Kyle Turris said. "It brings everybody together a lot quicker and I think down the road we'll see the benefits."

Martin Brodeur will get the start in goal for New Jersey. Devils coach Peter DeBoer continues to alternate the NHL's all-time wins and shutouts leader with Cory Schneider.

Brodeur will have an extra fan in the audience Thursday. His son Anthony, whom the Devils selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft (No. 208) will be on hand. Anthony Brodeur plays for the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"We're just taking it day by day," DeBoer said of the goalie rotation. "We're getting good goaltending and we want to win games. We'll wake up [Friday], hopefully after a win, and decide where we go from there."

The Devils head into their seventh game of the season looking for their first win (0-3-3).

"It's difficult," Brodeur said. "We felt we deserved a lot better, but when we look at each of the games we've done certain things to shoot ourselves in the foot and it's got to stop."

DeBoer said, "There's no excuses. Everybody's got new people so I don't want to hang my hat on just the fact that we've got new people here. I think it's the responsibility of everybody, from the coaches' perspective, getting the message through to the guys that we have to find this quickly. We don't have two or three months to do this.

"From the new guys trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible and buy into it and from the guys returning to remember what makes us successful, that because it's a year later it doesn't mean that formula changes or you're a different player. Because you scored six goals last year you're not going to come back and score 30 this year. We have to do what we have to do to win."

Here are the lineups the teams likely will use Thursday:


Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - Jaromir Jagr

Mattias Tedenby - Travis Zajac - Michael Ryder

Dainius Zubrus - Andrei Loktionov - Damien Brunner

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson

Andy Greene - Marek Zidlicky

Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold

Martin Brodeur

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Mark Fayne, Jacob Josefson, Rostislav Olesz

Injured: Ryane Clowe (head)


Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Cory Conacher

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Matt Kassian - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Patrick Wiercioch

Chris Phillips - Eric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Joe Corvo

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