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Spezza line totally shut down but vows to much better in Game 2

Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley gave their flatest performance of the spring, barely registering a presence in the offensive zone. Not exactly what was expected from the NHL's three leading post-season scorers.

"We didn't play our best today," said the captain Alfredsson. "We made it too easy on them. We had too many turnovers. We can play better."

The three stars had as many giveaways, five, as shots on goal.

"We didn't get on pucks as fast," said Spezza. "We had been skating well as a line in the playoffs but tonight we didn't have that extra jump. We didn't cycle as well."

The line drew the attention of Ducks checkers Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson and Travis Moen and decidedly lost the matchup in Game 1.

"They're a good checking line, but I don't think they present any more problems than any other checking line," said Spezza. "It's not so much what they did, it's what we didn't do as a line. And as a team in general we just didn't have much jump.

"And when you don't have much jump, you're not hard on puck and you don't have as many chances."

While the Spezza line faltered, there wasn't much support from the other three lines either. The Sens managed just 20 shots on goal on Ducks netminder J.S. Giguere.

It was an easy night for him.

"We didn't do a good enough job getting pucks on him," said Spezza. "There's a few things we need to change in our game. We just didn't seem to have much jump out there."

More glaring for Ottawa was the turnover count - the Sens committing 14 to Anaheim's five.

"Probably a combination of being off for nine days and just trying to do too much," said Sens forward Mike Comrie. "We've got to stick to our game plan and that's not turn the puck over, get pucks deep and play disciplined.

"I think we played in spurts but obviously it wasn't enough," added Comrie. "In the playoffs you have to have a short memory and we'll go over video. We'll look at what we did and we'll move on."

The high-flying Sens that dispatched Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Buffalo in the first three rounds had a consistent trademark - controlling the pace of play and never looking like the game was getting away from them. They never looked in control on Monday night.

"I think we sat back too much and let them come at us," said Heatley. "All through the playoffs we've been able to dictate but I think we've found out there's no such thing as momentum. We didn't play our best game and now we have to regroup."

Spezza feels the Ducks got away with a lot of obstruction, and sent a not-so-subtle message to the league to show his displeasure.

"Apparently the old rules are back in play for holdups," Spezza said. "It seems like they were allowed to hold us up on the forecheck. But we'll just have to get used to it."

A key turning point in the game was Ottawa's inability to score during a 5-on-3 power play in the second period.

"When you look back, you lose by one goal and we had the 5-on-3 for 1:35," said Alfredsson. "We did have our chances but we couldn't put it in. We would have liked to get one there."

Added Spezza: "If we could have gone up 3-1 we would have put ourselves in a pretty good spot."

The Senators lost for the first time in these playoffs after scoring the first goal, dropping to 8-1. They also fell to 9-2 when leading after two periods.

The nine-day layoff between games might have been a factor.

"Obviously now we're going to say the layoff was a bit of a factor, because you know we didn't feel very good," said Spezza. "It's not easy when you have that many days off.

"We didn't have our best effort but we still had a good chance to win. We'll have a day to regroup. Now we've seen these guys play, we know what they're going to bring. I'd imagine we're going to have a better effort come Wednesday."


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