Whether he has last change or not, Paul MacLean usually wants his best against the opponent's best.

He wants Jason Spezza on the ice against the other team's top centre.

"In Detroit they picked the matchup," MacLean said, referring to what was ultimately a 6-1 victory over the Red Wings. "They wanted to play (Pavel) Datsyuk against him so we accepted it.

"Here (Friday) night we wanted to play Spezza against (Ryan) Getzlaf, so we made that happen. As it turns out it ends up 2-0 for Getzlaf (who had a goal and an assist).

"Did we do the right thing? We can look back on it and say maybe no, but at the same time Jason's responsibilities and total game is so important to us. And in order to have an expectation for him to do that in big moments in the game, or in the future in big games, you've got to start somewhere.

"So we decided who Jason plays against based on who we're playing, and at this point we want him playing against the best guys."

As a result, Spezza has logged more ice time (an average of 19:08 per game) than any other Senators forward, while leading the team in goals (seven) and points (10). Makes sense to have your top producer on the line more than putting out a checker to match the minutes played by a guy like Getzlaf, right?

More importantly, Spezza is relishing the challenge.

While the buzz Wednesday was about him versus former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Spezza pointed out to all who would listen that in fact he was going up against Datsyuk, who is one of the top two or three players in the world.