FIVE QUICK THOUGHTS
-For the second straight game I found myself in awe of the performance of Chris Phillips.? Now I acknowledge part of the reason is the low expectations I had of him coming into this season but I thought he looked damn good last night, playing 25:25.? And a lot of that time was paired with Erik Karlsson.? Obviously he’s playing way more minutes than he should be but Phillips has done a nice job picking up the slack while Methot recovers from his injury.? I don’t know what they put in that Big Rig Brew but it’s certainly working for the 36 year old defenceman.
-I also really liked the game of Erik Condra last night.? Nothing like being a healthy scratch in the first couple games of a contract year to light a fire under a player.? He had a ton of jump last night and drew a couple penalties simply by moving his feet.? Nobody would ever describe Condra as a “pretty” skater but he gets up and down the ice really well and actually seemed to have an extra gear last night.? It will be tough to take him out of the line up heading into Thursday night.? Colin Greening on the other hand….
-The two lowest ice time totals belonged to Colin Greening (11:29) and Chris Neil (11:17).? Although they both got important defensive shifts late in the game, neither had much impact over the course of sixty minutes.? Now Paul MacLean has an interesting decision on his hands.? He has a LW in Mike Hoffman and a RW in Curtis Lazar eager to get back in the line up for the home opener.? Does he make the change or go with the same line up?? We shall see.
-Patrick Wiercioch looked comfortable in his first game of the season and certainly did enough to stay in the line up next game.? There were times where he looked a little flat footed but I thought for the most part, he looked comfortable in his 18:55 of ice time.? Unless MacLean is willing to take out Gryba and shift Wiercioch to the right side, I’m expecting Jared Cowen to spend another game in the press box on Thursday night.
-Craig Anderson was the reason Ottawa won this game.? The defensive effort was certainly improved but Ottawa still gave up a handful of quality chances and Anderson made it look easy.? Actually, Anderson was quite solid in Nashville for the season opener and probably deserved a better fate.? He seems far more “relaxed” in the crease this year.? In better position and making difficult stops look easy.? I expect him to get another start on Thursday night against the Avalanche.