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Ottawa’s Jason Spezza set to return on Saturday

Feb 3, 2011, 2:20 PM EDT

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It’s been a rough year for the Senators. They’re in last place in the Northeast Division, they’ve lost 14 of their last 15 games including eight in a row after losing to Detroit 7-5 last night. Things are joyless in Canada’s capital city but there’s a reason to smile coming up on Saturday.

No, they’re not firing everyone responsible for this mess. Instead, top centerman Jason Spezza is set to make his return to the Sens lineup against the Islanders on Saturday night. Spezza has been out since December 26th after being checked hard into the boards against Pittsburgh. Ottawa’s offense hasn’t been the same since he’s been out and whether or not it’s a coincidence, the team has only won one game since he’s been out. Their stretch of 15 games with just one win coincides with Spezza’s absence.

Ottawa is 15 points behind Atlanta for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Safe to say that this recent run by the Senators have sunk their hopes of the playoffs. They haven’t been helped by bad goaltending and inefficient offense but it’s a remarkable coincidence that the team began playing so absolutely terrible without Jason Spezza. Whether Ottawa is in full tank mode or not we’ll have to wait and see. Spezza should at least be able to help Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson snap out of their funk.

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