Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza was his usual smiling self Monday, seemingly suffering no ill effects after Ottawa's grinding double-overtime victory Sunday.

The Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, breathing new hope into the club, which had been down 2-0 in the series.

Spezza, who played for the first time since a herniated disc in his back shelved him on Jan. 27, had a relatively steady night, finishing with 18:40 of ice time and winning 60 percent of his faceoffs.

"I feel good," Spezza said Monday. "To play a double-overtime game and coming out no worse for wear is definitely positive for me and encouraging that I made the right decision [to play]. I took a pretty good pounding and played more than we had initially planned, but it's all positive and I hope to get even better as we go on."

Spezza received his biggest test of durability during the first overtime period when Pittsburgh's Craig Adams rocked him along the boards with a huge shoulder hit. The Ottawa center tumbled to the ice, but quickly returned to his feet and resumed play.
"It felt pretty bad," Spezza said. "I think it felt as bad as it looked. But I popped up and I feel all right. We talked for two days [prior to Game 3] whether I could take a hit, so that was a good test for me. It might be the hardest one I've taken in my career. It feels great that I can wake up this morning and feel like I can keep trucking along."

While pleased to be back in the lineup, the 29-year-old feels his overall game still needs some polishing after the long layoff.