The perils of a 48-game season: Missing two months means missing upwards of 30 games.
Hence, the news out of Ottawa about Jason Spezza is a huge blow to the Senators.
GM Bryan Murray revealed that Spezza’s back surgery for a herniated disc will keep him out a minimum of two months, and maybe longer.
"I can't give you a time frame (on Spezza's return) simply because until the surgery and rehab starts we won't know the total extent," said Murray.
"We are hoping that he gets back at the later part of the season and if we're in the playoffs (he) will be able to participate at that time."
That’s an 84-point center last season out of the lineup for the Senators, who are averaging 3.43 goals per game. Spezza has five points in five games for a plus-3.
The Senators tried to patch the hole up front vs. the Habs by starting centre Kyle Turris with Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson. The players have been in this situation before and know they have to get the job done without Spezza.
"It's a big void out there. (Spezza) plays a lot of minutes for us and he's big on the faceoffs," said Senators winger Chris Neil. "But it's another opportunity for other guys to step up. It makes us more of a four-line team. "We can roll all four lines, and we've got the confidence to put our third or fourth line out against their top two lines and get the job done. It has to be a group effort."
Obviously, it also helps that Craig Anderson has been lights-out.
Something watch: The Ottawa power play, which is seventh in the NHL at 29.2 percent. Spezza had 10 power-play goals and 24 points on the man advantage last season.