Clutch Chris Phillips guides Senators to 4-3 win over Predators
With two Ottawa Senators storylines going into Thursday's game against the Nashville Predators, you knew something special was going to happen. As it turns out, it was Chris Phillips who made it so.
Goals were exchanged, and the game was closer than it should have been considering the massive very, very effective powerplay the Sens had going for them. But really, in sum, there are two things you need to know: The Senators won 4-3, and Phillips provided exactly half of the offence.
Oh yeah, and the Sens are ahead of the Leafs in the standings again.
Sens Hero: Chris Phillips
On Thursday we were graced with the presence of Phillips' alter ago, Clutch Chris. Clutch Chris makes perfect passes, steps up in the play when appropriate, punishes opponents physically, and makes strong defensive plays. Unfortunately, Clutch Chris doesn't come around too often--mostly just in overtime, and occasionally for milestone games. He came out for his milestone 1,000th game against the Predators: He threw five hits, used his active stick to negate all sorts of Nashville pressure, and, of course, scored his first and second goals of the season. It was obviously his best game of the year--the latter standing up as the game-winner.
Sens Hero: Jason Spezza
Ottawa's top pivot bounced back with a vengeance, putting up three points (2G, 1A) including the game-opening goal to give Ottawa a comfort level off the start. He was setting up linemates Milan Michalek (more on him in a moment) and Bobby Butler all over the place, and had five shots of his own. Phillips' was important to the offence, but Spezza was integral to it.
Sens Hero: Milan Michalek
Milo had a heck of a game against the Predators, too, finishing the game with a couple of assists, four shots, and more blown scoring chances than I care to count. If Michalek keeps getting those kinds of opportunities, though, goals will come for him fast and furiously.
Honourable Mention: Bobby Butler
#BobbysBack. Butler jumped back into the lineup after two games in the press box, stepped onto the first line, and didn't miss a beat. It was a different Butler than last season: One who went into the corners, ground out the puck, and made some passes. He's still got that lethal shot, but Paul MacLean is teaching him (the hard way, perhaps) that he can't just rely on that to generate offence. Butler's learning.