Ottawa - February 10, 2012 - Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza each scored a pair of goals as the Ottawa Senators beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 to stop the Senators losing streak at seven games. Tonight’s game was Phillips 1000th game, all with the Senators, and he celebrated the night by scoring his first two goals of the season, including the game winner on the power play with six and a half minutes left in the game. The Senators went two for six on the power play in the game.
Spezza scored his 21st and 22nd goals of the season for the Senators and is now one behind team leader Milan Michalek. It was a three point night for Spezza who now has 54 points on the season which ties him for eighth place on the NHL’s scoring list.
For once the Senators didn’t fall behind early in the game. Jason Spezza opened the scoring 4:46 into the game to give the Senators the 1-0 lead. The Senators are now 16-6-3 when scoring first this season. Despite scoring first the Senators did give up a goal to the Predators Gabriel Bourque, his second of the year. On the play Jared Cowen was caught up the ice and Sergei Gonchar provided a screen as Bourque put the puck between Gonchar’s legs and past a screened Alex Auld.
I’m not sure why Gonchar continually backs up into the goaltender. He isn’t doing either Auld or Anderson any favours when he does that. All he had to do on this play was to step up and stick check Bourque. As a result the period ended in a 1-1 tie. The Senators have now led after the first period in only 11 of 57 games they’ve played this year. At least tonight though, the Senators were not behind at the end of the first period.
Tonight marked the 1000th game played by Chris Phillips. Only four players in NHL history have been drafted number one overall and then played their first 1000 games with the team that drafted them. Phillips shares that honour now with Mike Modano, Denis Potvin and Gilbert Perrault.
Phillips has been a total team player for the Senators. Drafted in 1997 from the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League, he’s been the best defensive defenceman the Senators franchise has ever had. Playing mostly against the NHL’s top forwards he’s managed to post lifetime statistics of 62 goals and 190 assists for 252 points. Perhaps his best statistic though is a plus/minus of plus 73.
- It was nice to the see the Scotiabank crowd give Mike Fisher a standing ovation when he took his first shift. The ovation was loud and judging by the signs which were brought, there were a lot of ladies in the crowd who missed Fisher here in Ottawa.
- The Senators played a video tribute to Chris Phillips that marked his 1000th game in a Senators uniform. The crowd gave Phillips a standing ovation.
- The Senators are now 13-2-2 in games where they’ve led going into the third period. The fact that the Senators are so successful when taking the lead is not a surprise. The fact that they’ve only lead in 17 out of 57 games entering the third is the biggest surprise.
- The win moves the Senators into seventh place, one point ahead of Toronto and two points ahead of the ninth place Washington Capitals. However, both teams have a couple of games in hand. The next game for the Senators is Saturday afternoon against the Edmonton Oilers on hockey day in Canada.