OTTAWA (AP)—Chris Phillips rarely displays his offensive skills—except in milestone games.
Phillips scored his first two goals of the season in his 1,000th NHL game, Jason Spezza also scored twice and the Ottawa Senators ended a seven-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
The veteran defenseman, one month shy of his 34th birthday, scored his first goal in 75 games 7:50 into the second. He lay on his back on the ice after adding a power-play goal 13:35 into the third to put Ottawa up by two.
“It took him a thousand games to figure out he’s an offensive defenseman,” said Spezza, who also assisted on Phillips’ first goal.
It was Phillips’ fourth two-goal game—his first since Nov. 19, 2009, in a 6-2 win over Pittsburgh. That was his 800th career game.
Phillips has spent his entire career with the Senators, who drafted him first overall in 1996. His No. 4 was painted on the ice behind both goals and he was given standing ovations during a video tribute in the first period and after both goals.
“What can you say? It’s just an unbelievable night to begin with and it just kept getting better and better,” Phillips said.
Mike Fisher played his first game at Scotiabank Place since he was traded to Nashville last Feb. 10. He was also given a standing ovation when video highlights from his Senators career were shown during the first period.
“It brought back a lot of good memories,” said Fisher, whose wife—singer Carrie Underwood—was on hand for the game. “It was a neat moment for me, for sure. It was definitely emotional and I had a lot of good memories and great times in this building. The fans have been great and it was definitely a fun moment for me.”
Alex Auld made 24 saves for Ottawa, which went 13-2-2 prior to its recent skid.
“It’s tough to stop losing streaks and we did that tonight,” Spezza said. “When you’re winning games it seems like it’s easy to win them, and when you’re losing games it seems like you keep finding a way to lose. So to dig ourselves out of that hole tonight, hopefully we can springboard it and have a good one on Saturday (against Edmonton).”
Martin Erat scored to draw the Predators within one with 8.6 seconds remaining.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Fisher said. “Give Ottawa credit, they had a good game. Other than the loss, it was a special night for sure, and to see Phillips have a game like that, I was happy for him.”
Spezza gave Ottawa its third one-goal lead at 3-2 with his second of the game—his 22nd of the season—on a power play 18:55 into the second.
His 21st goal 4:46 into the game put Ottawa up 1-0. The All-Star center punched the glass behind the Predators’ net after firing a wrist shot past Rinne for his first goal in nine games.
“I’ve definitely been frustrated,” Spezza said. “Our line hasn’t been producing as much as we should be and we really talked about trying to get the first goal and trying to get the lead, and it was important for our line to have a good game. So I think I was just kind of letting out a bit of anger at not scoring in the previous games and it felt good to get the first one.”
Bourque drew Nashville even with his second goal at 18:46.
Phillips got another ovation after he beat Rinne from the slot to put the Senators up 2-1. It was his first goal since last Feb. 26.
“Everything turned out great tonight,” Phillips said. “A hard-fought game against a top team and we played the way that we have to play, night in and night out, so just a great game for our team to be able to feed off of.”
Hornqvist tied it with a power-play goal at 12:40 when he tipped Ryan Suter’s point shot past Auld.
NOTES: Predators RW Brian McGrattan did not dress. The former Ottawa enforcer missed his second straight game because of an upper-body injury. … Senators G Craig Anderson didn’t play for the first time in 23 games. He was pulled early in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis after allowing two goals on four shots in his 18th straight start.