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Regin savours a special moment

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators rookie centre Peter Regin has been keeping his parents up into the wee hours watching his games back in Denmark. But his first NHL goal on Thursday night in St. Louis gave them an extra special thrill (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

His parents are well beyond burning the proverbial midnight oil.

But Peter Regin knows he gave them the biggest of thrills early Friday morning as they huddled in front of a computer in Herning, Denmark, to follow their son's burgeoning hockey career. Not to mention a huge lift for his Ottawa Senators teammates.

Regin was still on cloud nine earlier this afternoon as he looked back upon his first career National Hockey League goal. The 22-year-old rookie centre, playing in just his third NHL game, beat St. Louis goaltender Chris Mason with just 1:57 remaining for the game-winner in the Senators' 3-1 victory over the Blues on Thursday night.

It's a puck that Regin won't be giving up to anyone.

"I'm going to bring it home and keep it for the rest of my life," he said. "It's fun for everybody to score their first NHL goal. It's even more fun when it's an important goal, too. I was happy to help the team get a win and, of course, I was excited about my first goal."

So were the parents who have been following his games on the Internet, even if it means staying up until 1:30 a.m. for the opening faceoff.

"They're pretty tired now," said Regin. "The last couple of weeks have been tough on them, being awake every second night. They're tired but they fight through it."

Fighting through might be just the right words to describe the task that awaits the Senators tonight in Columbus, Ohio, where they face the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200) in the second stop of their three-game mini-road trip.

Head coach Ken Hitchcock's Blue Jackets are a big, physical opponent playing in front of Steve Mason, their red-hot rookie goaltender. They are also pushing hard to land the first playoff berth in franchise history.

"This is a big, strong team," said Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg. "We need to have the same working, competing game we had last night but it'll be a big challenge. This is a big, strong, hard-checking team."

With that thought in mind, Hartsburg will sit out centre Dean McAmmond tonight and insert Christoph Schubert back into the lineup. Schubert will line up alongside Regin and Nick Foligno, while Mike Fisher will centre Jarkko Ruutu and Chris Neil to form what should be a physical, high-energy combination.

"I'm going to bring (the puck) home and keep it for the rest of my life. It's fun for everybody to score their first NHL goal. It's even more fun when it's an important goal, too. I was happy to help the team get a win and, of course, I was excited about my first goal." - Peter Regin
"It's not going to be easy tonight," admitted Fisher. "We're going to be challenged physically again and I think we've got to respond ... We've got to come ready and have the same mindset we had (Thursday) night and know that we're going to be challenged."

Anything less than the effort they put forth against the Blues likely won't get it done, said Hartsburg. Even Hitchcock was impressed by the Senators' play on Thursday, saying it was the first time he'd seen a team outwork the Blues in more than a month.

"We expect the same level of work and competing tonight against a bigger, stronger team than (the Blues)," said Hartsburg. "It'll be a big challenge for us. But that should be the level that we work at every night. If we can work and compete like that every night, I think we'd all leave the rink happy. We're not going to win every game but that's what we need."

Around the boards

Defenceman Alex Picard, a healthy scratch against the Blues, returns to the lineup tonight in place of Brendan Bell. "I didn't think Bell was as assertive (Thursday) night as he has been, so it's time to make a move again," said Hartsburg ... Alex Auld (9-11-5) returns to the Senators net tonight for his first start since Jan. 6. He's 4-2-0 lifetime against Columbus ... Mason leads all NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (2.04) and shutouts (six). "He's big, he competes, he reads the play so well and he handles the puck like a defenceman," said Hartsburg. "He's got the whole package for a goalie. I can't say enough good things about him." ... The Senators wrap up their road trip on Sunday in Washington against the Capitals (12:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200) before returning home to take on the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).

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