The Ottawa Senators are in desperate need of Jason Spezza’s offensive touch. Now.

But the way coach Paul MacLean was talking Wednesday afternoon, Spezza isn’t ready to return to the lineup for Game 2 of the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins here Friday.

At least not yet.

“I think Jason still has some hurdles to get over before we get to that point with him coming in to say he’s ready to play, that we (the coaches and medical staff) would allow him to play,” MacLean said, as the Senators licked their wounds following the series opening 4-1 loss to the Penguins Tuesday.

“Right now, he’s in Ottawa and he’s skating. We’re here and we’re going to play Game 2.”

The intrigue only figures to build up from here until the puck drops Friday, as Spezza works his way back from back disc surgery. After skating with the team Sunday and Monday, Spezza stayed behind to work under the watchful eye of Binghamton Senators coach Luke Richardson.

If Spezza is deemed to have received final medical clearance, the club won’t hesitate to shuttle him here ASAP. If he doesn’t play Friday, there’s a decent chance he could suit up for Game 3 Sunday at Scotiabank Place. Spezza hasn’t played since Jan. 27.

The absence of a genuine first line centre in the Senators lineup is glaring, especially against a Penguins squad which boasts perhaps the league’s two best centres, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — players capable of turning momentum in a split second. Malkin did just that in Game 1, scoring a goal and an assist to take the lead among all playoff scorers with three goals and 10 assists.

The Penguins scored two power play goals Tuesday and they’re now converting at a 36 per cent clip with the man advantage in the playoffs. The Senators went 0-for-5 Tuesday and have struggled with their power play throughout the playoffs. Their 6-for-31 conversion rate in the post-season is misleading, because of the numbers they put up during the third period in a pair of 6-1 romps over the Montreal Canadiens.

While Spezza won’t be at full health if he steps back into the lineup, earlier this week he said “different circumstances happen at different times and the playoffs can sometimes be an (unusual) circumstance, so maybe you push yourself and do things you might not normally do.”