The slumping Senators found their winning spirit and just in time to celebrate Chris Phillips’ 1000th game. With this game, Phillips joins an elite group of only 4 NHL players to play their 1000th game with the franchise that drafted them first overall, which the Senators did back in 1996. What a stunning milestone and what better way to celebrate than with 2 goals in the game to lead Ottawa to a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Celebrations aside, it’s generally expected that a game against Nashville is going to be a snoozer. Their highly defensive style game is often hard to watch, but the team has gotten better offensively in the second half of the season with former Senator Mike Fisher on an 8 goals in 8 games streak, coming into town red hot. But Ottawa managed to maintain Fisher in this game and also managed to maintain a good competitive pace throughout the three periods. The second period was by far their best, with lots of good pressure on Nashville, which kept them running in their own zone.
Breaking out of the funk and just in time was Jason Spezza, whose two goals on the night was met with clear relief from himself and his teammates, not to mention the fans. Spezza’s been in a slump since the All-Star Break, a condition which has been dubbed the All-Star hangover by commentators and he had to break out in order for this team to regroup. He certainly did and it’s hoped that Milan Michalek will soon have the same relief once he gets a goal. Michalek has also run cold since the break, but not for lack of trying. He gets great shots on goals and works hard to get to the net, as always. It’s just a matter of time for him and it can’t come soon enough.
Bobby Butler was inserted in the lineup tonight along side Brian Lee, pushing Konopka and Carkner to the sidelines. Butler picked up 2 points and Lee had a decent night out. Changing the lineup has been part of Maclean’s plan to shake up this team and insert some energy in them. The Senators coach hasn’t like the compete level of the past few games and it’s obvious why that is. Ottawa looked slow in their last outing against St. Louis and two quick goals by the Blues not only chased Anderson out of the net for the night, it also deflated the entire team. They weren’t moving their feet well and their defense was constantly out of position. They looked slow and there was no good reason for it.
They didn’t look slow in tonight’s game and having something to celebrate may have had something to do with it. It was truly time for Ottawa to rise to the occasion to celebrate one of their own and they did so. The fans were deafening, something which rarely happens in Ottawa unless the Leafs are in town for them to boo. Hearing cheers was way better and in this game, for Phillips and for the Ottawa Senators, it was well deserved.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.