Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chris Phillips is Sens' hero in Fisher's returns to Ottawa

All the media was focused on Mike Fisher's return to Ottawa but Chris Phillips made his 1000th game a night of celebration by scoring two goals and leading Ottawa to a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators to end the Senators seven game losing streak.

The game featured an odd juxtaposition of fan-ship with the visiting Fisher receiving the lion's share of the pregame hype instead of the alternate captain, Phillips who had labored through a 1000 games with the Sens after being drafted first overall in the 1996 NHL Entry draft.

In the end, it was Phillips' two goal,s along with two goals from Jason Spezza, that led to the Predators' demise and the Senators breaking their seven game losing streak while battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Nashville tried their best but never were able to prevail in a night in the frigid north against a rare opponent. They got goals from Gabriel Bourque, Patric Hornqvist, and Marty Erat but it was not enough.

Alex Auld was the game winner, stopping 24 of 27 Predator shots as Ottawa ralied around his rare start. Pekka Rinne lost his second game in a row with poor support from the rest of the squad as he stopped 25 of 29 Sens shots.

Make the jump for more detail and comments from the couch...

At the Puck Drop...

In Goal: Pekka Rinne (30-11-5, 2.38, .925) vs Alex Auld (1-3-2, 3.31, .882)

Scratches:  Predators - Brandon Yip, Brian McGrattan, and Jack Hillen.  Senators - Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner.

First Period...

Both teams came out with plenty of speed and pressure right from the opening puck drop. The Sens struck first at 4:46 when Jason Spezza scored on a innocent looking play on a pass from the middle from Milan Michalek.

The Predators got their first chance on the power play at 13:14 when Nick Foligno was called for interference on Rinne. The Preds did not get any shots on the power play but the Sens picked up one short-handed.

Bourque scored his second NHL goal at 18:46 when he made a move on a broken play and put a puck past Auld from his left for his second  NHL goal. Jordin Tootoo and Ryan Suter picked up assists on the play.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1        6        X       0-0:00  9-5   64%
Senators             1        8        X       1-2:00  5-9   36%

Second Period...

The Predators had back to back penalties at the start of the middle stanza that put un-needed pressure on the defense. At 1:40, Sergei Kostitsyn was called for holding Daniel Alfredsson and at 3:38 Nick Spaling was whistled for tripping Filip Kuba. The Preds escaped the ordeal with a shot from the Sens as well as one from Kostitsyn short-handed.

Phillips began the celebration of his 1000th game when he joined the rush and cut across the middle of the slot to score his first goal of the season at 7:50 to put the Sens back in front 2-1.

Francis Bouillon was called for high-sticking Foligno 8:32 to put the Sens on the man-advantage. Ottawa had two shots on net in addition to a post shot by Sergei Gonchar.

Jim O'Brien was called for elbowing Mary Erat at 12:16 to put the Preds on the power play. The Predators quickly responded 24 seconds later when Hornqvist deflected a wrister from Ryan Suter to score his 16th goal and tie the game 2-2 at 12:40. Erat also picked up the secondary assist.

The Predators went back on the man advantage at 15:18 when Colin Greening tripped Kevin Klein at 15:18. The Preds got four shots but could not find the net on the power play.

Erat was called for hooking at 18:49 and it only took the Senators six seconds to score when Nick Spaling skated behind the Predators net off the faceoff and turned the puck over allowing Michalek to steal the puck and shuffle it to Spezza for his second goal of the game.

2nd Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1        12        39*       4-8:00 14-8  64%
Senators              2        11        48*       2-4:00 8-14  36%

* Two period Corsi total

Third Period...

The final stanza started off with both teams being cautious and looking for their best chance at a win without giving up much on defense.

At 13:35, Phillips jumped in on the rush on the power play and scored on a rebound to get his second goal of the game and the season and became the new mayor of Ottawa by giving the sens a 4-2 lead and a great shot at breaking their seven game losing streak.

The Preds were revived 14 seconds later when Brian Lee was called for interference. The pressure was short-lived when David Legwand was whistled for hooking Alfredsson to end the Preds' power play 23 seconds later.

The Predators may have received a long-term blow at 16:29 when Francis Bouillon was forced out of the game when he was nailed with a Spezza shot to an undetermined part of the body.

Nashville went back on the man-advantage at 17:19 when Kyle Turris was called for hooking Kostitsyn. At 18:31, the Preds took a time out after Zach Smith hit Shea Weber in the face with his stick with no penalty being called. The Preds got no shots on the power play effort.

In a desperation attempt with the goalie pulled, Erat scored a goal with 10.6 seconds left off a Weber shot rebound to pull withing a goal at 4-3 which was the final score.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        1        10        15       2-4:00 6-16  27%
Senators            1          9        19       2-4:00 16-6  73%


Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        3        27        54      6-12:00 29-29 50%
Senators            4        29        67      5-10:00 29-29 50%

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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