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Post-Game Musings: at Ottawa

Thursday, 02.9.2012 / 9:25 PM CT / Features
By Doug Brumley  - Nashville Predators
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Post-Game Musings: at Ottawa
A game of alternating goals through two periods ultimately turned into another third-period comeback effort for the Nashville Predators. Defenseman Chris Phillips scored his second goal of the night to put his Ottawa Senators up 4-2 with 7:25 left in regulation, and although Martin Erat tallied with 10 seconds remaining to pull the Predators within one, time ran out on the visitors.

Jason Spezza twice gave the Senators a one-goal lead, opening the scoring and later making it 3-2 near the end of the second frame. Gabriel Bourque and Patric Hornqvist scored Nashville’s first two goals, the latter coming on the power play. Yet it was the Predators’ trips to the penalty box that stung them. Ottawa’s last two goals—one by Phillips, and the eventual game-winner by Spezza—came with the home team playing with a manpower advantage.

The result snaps a seven-game winless skid for the Senators and drops the Predators to 14-4-1 over their last 19 games. The Nashville club concludes its two-game road trip on Saturday, with a noon CT game against the Boston Bruins.


THREE MUSINGS
Speed game: For the first two periods especially, Thursday night’s game in Ottawa featured lots of pace, transition plays and odd-man breaks. It was a game well-suited to Predators speedy rookie Gabriel Bourque, who was back in the lineup after not dressing for Nashville’s last two games. Indeed, Bourque made an impact in his return, scoring at 18:46 of the first period to tie the game at 1-1. The goal, a give-and-go play with Jordin Tootoo, was the second of the season for Bourque, who made his NHL debut on Dec. 28, 2011. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in 17 games for Nashville.

Power play: Nashville’s power play, which entered Thursday night’s game ranked third in the NHL (21.7 percent), went 1-for-3 in Ottawa. The lone goal came in the second period when Patric Hornqvist deflected home a Ryan Suter wrist shot 24 seconds into Jim O’Brien’s minor penalty for elbowing. Nashville’s power play units have posted seven goals in the last nine games and have tallied 12 power-play markers in the past 14 games. On the other side of the special teams story, the Predators, who entered the game ranked fifth in the league for fewest penalties, made an uncharacteristic six trips to the sin bin. Ottawa converted on two of six opportunities in what proved to be a key to their win.

Fan favorites: Predators center Mike Fisher was warmly received by fans of his former team Thursday, on his first trip back to Ottawa since his trade to Nashville nearly a year ago. Fisher, who was a very popular member of the Ottawa community, received a standing ovation from the crowd early in the first period. But it was Senators defenseman Chris Phillips who earned the highest praise as first star of the game. The 14-year NHL veteran (all 14 seasons played in a Senators jersey) scored his first and second goals of the 2011-2012 campaign on the very night he celebrated playing in his 1,000th NHL game. Thursday night marked the fourth time in his career that Phillips has netted two goals in a game.


POST-GAME QUOTE
Predators head coach Barry Trotz (after the first period): “That was an all-star format there. It was a real easy game to play. If we’re going to win in this building against a desperate team you can’t play that way. We’re going to have to play a lot harder. Make them defend a little bit against us and make them take the puck off us.”


THREE STARS
F, Jason Spezza (OTT): 2 goals, 1 assist, +1, 11-of-20 in the face-off circle
D, Chris Phillips (OTT) 2 goals, game-high 5 hits
F, Martin Erat (NSH) 1 goal, 1 assist, +1

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61