Monday, April 14, 2008

Game 3: Spezza in, Alfredsson probable

As reported in the Ottawa Sun, Jason Spezza will play in Game 3 tonight, and Daniel Alfredsson is possible, bordering on probable, to return from his injury.

After the Pens scored that heartbreaking goal at the end of Game 2 and CBC cut to a shot of Alfie in the press box, I could see in his face that he was going to come back, no matter how bad this strange injury is.

A pressing question should both players return is whether or not Bryan Murray decides to reunite the CASH line, and starts Alfredsson with Spezza and Dany Heatley. Obviously, there are benefits to this; it was, after all, the highest-scoring line in the NHL during the regular season. When Murray split up Heatley and Spezza in practice, though, he did so to make a point, and to try and get them working independently to get some points.

Also, if Alfredsson and Spezza aren't 100 per cent, it might not be approproate to expect them to play top-line minutes. In practice yesterday, Heatley was playing with Antoine Vermette and Cory Stillman. That line has obviously got the skill to score, and would leave a second line of Spezza, Alfredsson, and possibly Nick Foligno, also a line with a lot of skill and Foligno's grit.

Whatever happens, the big names need to bring it tonight if the Sens are going to have any chance of winning this series.

EDIT: Murray just had a press conference, and it sure didn't sound like Alfredsson was probable--maybe I overstated things in the title. Murray said he wasn't going to close the door on the possibility, though.
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