Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza hopes to make debut against Maple Leafs

TORONTO – Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza is hoping to return to the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A groin injury kept him out of the season opener on Friday night. The 27-year-old centre skated at Air Canada Centre on Saturday morning and planned to make a decision about his availability later in the day.

“I felt better today than I did yesterday,” said Spezza. “I’ll see how I feel this afternoon and make a game-time decision.”

Ottawa dropped its season opener 2-1 to the Buffalo Sabres. Mike Fisher skated on the top unit in Spezza’s place with Daniel Alfredsson and Nick Foligno.

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Prior to the game, Spezza stood by the team’s bench at Scotiabank Place in a suit for player introductions.

“It’s always tough to watch games, especially the first game of the year,” he said. “It’s definitely frustrating to miss that game. The crowd was into it—you see a loss and you want to come back and respond as a team.

“I want to help out if I can, but I also don’t want to put myself in a bad situation.”

Senators coach Cory Clouston said Pascal Leclaire would get his second straight start in goal on Saturday night. J.S. Giguere will be in net for Toronto.