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Spezza-less Sens take on Hurricanes

11:54 AM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Ottawa Senators will need more balanced production with center Jason Spezza out with a herniated disc.

So far, so good.

The Senators take aim at a third straight victory on Friday as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.

Spezza did not play in Wednesday's 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens and it was announced the following day that he will undergo back surgery that will sideline him indefinitely.

The 29-year-old had two goals and three assists in five games this season after notching 34 goals and 84 points in 2011-12.

Without Spezza, the Sens got goals from five different players versus the Habs. That included second-period markers from Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips and Mika Zibanejad, who scored the first goal of his NHL career.

"I try to keep myself calm after a goal, but I couldn't after this one," said the 19-year-old Zibanejad, the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft. He had an assist in nine games last season and was playing in his second tilt of this campaign after getting recalled from the AHL on Monday.

Jim O'Brien and Chris Neil added tallies for the Senators, who have points in six of their first seven games (5-1-1). Craig Anderson continued his strong early play, stopping 31-of-32 shots in his 300th career game.

"We're very pleased with the production we're getting from everybody," said Sens coach Paul MacLean. "Everybody's contributing on offense as far as the four lines. We're still getting contributions from our defense and that's going to be important moving forward."

MacLean's offense has had its troubles scoring goals at Carolina's PNC Arena, where Ottawa has lost eight of its past nine. The Sens have been outscored 32-13 in that span and have been held to a single goal in seven of the meetings.

The Hurricanes have won five of the past seven encounters overall and could use a victory on Friday after falling to 2-3-0 on the campaign with a 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday.

Carolina rallied to tie the game at three-all after trailing by scores of 2-0 and 3-1, but Boston's David Krejci netted the game-winner with under two minutes to play.

Eric Staal had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes, who were coming off a home-and-home sweep of Buffalo. Staal has four goals and two helpers in his last three games.

"We did some good things, but obviously not enough to try and salvage at least a point in this game," Staal said.

Jeff Skinner scored in his fourth straight game, with five tallies over that time, and defenseman Jamie McBain also lit the lamp. Cam Ward made 33 saves.

Carolina begins a six-game road trip on Saturday in Philadelphia.

The Sports Network

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