OTTAWA (AP) — Jason Spezza doesn't have much time to return to form if the Ottawa Senators want to extend their season.
The star forward hasn't played since Jan. 27 after undergoing back surgery for a herniated disk. He'll rejoin Ottawa's lineup Sunday for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Senators trailing 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I'm excited to have a chance to play again," Spezza said. "I feel ready to play."
He will immediately add depth to a struggling offense and power play.
"We're excited about the skill that he brings back to our team and we're looking forward to it," said Senators coach Paul MacLean. "We certainly feel that he's going to give us some help on the power play, for sure. He can help us quite a bit there."
The Senators' power play has gone 1 for 7 through the first two games.
Spezza's minutes will be monitored, and MacLean suggested his time on the ice could vary depending on the number of power plays the Senators get.
Spezza is expected to line up with Milan Michalek and possibly Colin Greening.
"He's such a skilled playmaker that if you're on the ice with him you know to keep your stick on the ice because he finds a way to get the puck to you," Zack Smith said. "When you're playing with guys like that, you're just more prone to go to the net and go to those areas and be more confident."
Spezza hopes his timing comes back quickly.
"Basically I'm just going to go out and work hard and be smart," he said. "I expect to play well.