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Phillips chipping in at both ends of the ice

Thursday, 02.15.2007 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Phillips chipping in at both ends of the ice
Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips is enjoying a career season, on both sides of the puck.

by Todd Anderson

Named an alternate captain at the beginning of the season, Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips has relished his new role. While Phillips and his blueline partner Anton Volchenkov have met expectations while holding off some of the NHL's top lines match after match, Phillips has also added a new dimension to his game. Last night the eight-year veteran recorded his career-high eighth goal of the season, and he's just four points shy of his career high of 23 points set in 2003-04.

"It feels good to score, there's no doubt about that," Phillips told a swarm of reporters today after practice. "It's kind of a bonus. My responsibility is to help shut down the other team's top line and play defensively. I'm happy to contribute in other ways if I can."

Seven of Phillips' eight goals have come at even strength, while the eighth was scored while short-handed. Three of his tallies have been game-winners, one coming in overtime; four have opened the scoring of a game; and six have been against division opponents. In other words, most of Phillips' goals have been big ones.

"I just want to help this team any way I can," Phillips says. "I wouldn't say I've strived to be more offensive. I'm just shooting the puck more when I get the opportunity. I try to get back on the puck quicker and get up in the rush a bit earlier so I give myself as much time as possible to get the puck."

Wade Redden has been impressed with his teammate's progression.

"He's moving the puck real well, he's getting breakaways, he's scoring some nice goals for us. This year he's really getting a chance to play more, kill penalties and be a dominant guy."

Despite facing the other team's top lines, Phillips still boasts the Senators' fifth-best plus-minus rating of +16. He's also played a big part in Ottawa's ranking as one of the best penalty-killing teams in the league. Senators head coach Bryan Murray appreciates Phillips' efforts on the blueline.

"He's been very good for us and not only when he's scored points. (Phillips and Volchenkov) are two of the main reasons we have been able to play so well defensively. After 10 to 12 games together, they seemed to fit in and just got better. No question, chemistry is an important thing, and they found it fairly early on."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson also respects what the duo contributes to the club.

"They're up to the challenge every night. They probably have the toughest job on the team: to shut down the other team's top line every game."




1 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
2 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
3 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
4 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
5 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
6 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
7 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
8 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47


E. Karlsson 54 11 48 9 59
B. Ryan 53 19 26 -2 45
M. Hoffman 50 23 18 5 41
M. Stone 52 16 25 -10 41
M. Zibanejad 53 11 22 -1 33
K. Turris 48 13 17 -11 30
J. Pageau 54 13 10 6 23
Z. Smith 53 11 5 7 16
C. Ceci 47 5 11 -1 16
C. Lazar 49 5 9 0 14
C. Anderson 22 17 4 .914 2.86
A. Hammond 3 5 2 .900 3.10