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Spezza sidelined vs. Capitals with upper-body injury

by Erin Nicks

OTTAWA -- Jason Spezza will not play against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night due to an upper-body injury.

The Ottawa Senators' top center was absent from practice Monday and Tuesday. According to coach Paul MacLean, Spezza was injured during Ottawa's game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. MacLean also said he didn't know if Spezza would be available for the Senators' next game, against Montreal on Wednesday.

Peter Regin will take Spezza's spot in the lineup, flanked by Milan Michalek and Jakob Silfverberg.

Regin said he knows the Senators are better with Spezza in the lineup, but said he's looking forward to the additional ice time.

"It's unfortunate that Spezza can't play," Regin said. "But when I get the chance to play on a line like this, I want to make the most of it. I'm not going to try and be [Spezza]. I'm just going to remain focused on the way I play and try to do [well]. You don't often get opportunities like this."

The Capitals are hoping to take advantage of Spezza's absence.

"[Spezza] is one of those guys that their team revolves around," Washington forward Troy Brouwer said. "He carries the play whenever he's on the ice and he's got the ability to make guys look silly. If he's out of the lineup, we've got to attack that first line and make sure the [Senators] aren't having an easy time out there. We need to finish our plays and focus on their other star players."

Capitals coach Adam Oates also said he wants his team to take advantage of Spezza being out of the lineup, but knows the Senators have other players who can provide firepower.

"[Spezza] is a marquee guy, but the [Senators] have a lot of other good hockey players on their team," he said. "You can't have a letdown because a good player is not in the lineup."

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