For Chris Phillips, it was a rollercoaster of a week.
From the highs of a job well done against Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis in Tampa on Saturday, to his role in shutting down Alex Ovechkin on Thursday ... to the lows of the last nine minutes in Carolina Friday.
Phillips' plunge southbound cost the Senators a victory.
With the Senators holding a 1-0 lead against a driving Hurricanes team, he was called for interference on Tuomo Ruutu at 10:33 of the third. Just 33 seconds later, Dennis Seidenberg tied the game.
If that wasn't enough, Phillips' inability to clear the puck led directly to ex-Senator Joe Corvo's game-winning goal with 2:40 left on the clock.
Yesterday, with the Senators back on the practice ice following a day off, Phillips was asked to relive his nightmare at the RBC Center.
"It was basically a bouncing, scrambling puck," he said of the events leading to the decisive goal.
"I had it early and didn't get it out. It bounced around a little more ... Corvs got ahold of it and made a great shot. Lots of things always happen on a shift, as I said I had a chance to get it out, at least get it to the outside and put it in the middle of the ice, then after that, it bounced around for a while and ended up in the net. When you have a chance and you go back, and you know of a mistake you made on that shift, it doesn't matter if it's right before the goal or a minute before, you still feel quite a bit responsible."
Judging by his reaction at the time, it appeared Phillips believed he was the victim of a bad call on the penalty. That wasn't exactly the case.
"It probably was a penalty," he said. "The frustrating part about that is the next night you could go out and do that, or you see other guys do that, and it doesn't get called, and the next after that it is. That one is just sometimes inconsistent, and it's frustrating. But it probably was a penalty under the rules, and it should be a penalty more often. But some nights it doesn't get called, and then you think you can do that."
Phillips has been around long enough to know ups and downs are part of the game. It doesn't make the lows any easier to take. He just knows how to live with them now.
"That's the part of the game where I am now, I'm not at the top of my rollercoaster," said Phillips, who did lead the Senators in blocked shots (five) and chipped in with four hits Friday.
"That's part of the responsibility ... you try to do the best job you can, then move on to the next game, and try to do that. Last game you made some mistakes, but you can't hang your head and mope around, to where that just carries over. You put it behind you, and learn from it, and do the best you can the next game."
Phillips was asked for his assessment of his first 14 games this season.
"It's kind of a weird one," he said. "Even at the start it felt like I was playing okay, but I had the bad plus-minus which, if you want to look at stats, especially for a defenceman trying not to get scored on, it doesn't show well. The last little while it's gotten better, but for me it is game to game."
REVVING UP THE RIVALRY
Like the rest of his team, Daniel Alfredsson is looking forward to tomorrow's meeting with the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Alfredsson would really like to hook up with the Habs in April. The Senators captain said the Ottawa-Montreal rivalry is screaming for a playoff series between the two teams. "It's not our fault," he joked, when asked why it hasn't happened yet. "The last two or three years, they've become a really good team. Maybe the next few years, who knows? It would be a lot of fun." ... Coach Craig Hartsburg will announce his starting goalie for the Habs game today, but the speculation is he'll go back with Alex Auld, who besides his five wins leads the NHL with a 1.84 GAA ... Alfredsson has shaved the moustache he was growing. "My wife wasn't too impressed, I guess," he said when asked why he removed it. "I wasn't a huge fan of it here to be honest, that's why it came off." Does he do everything Bibi tells him to? "I take it into consideration," he said. "She doesn't have full control, but pretty close to it." ... Phillips said he has "no clue" when asked if the Habs are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. "I haven't watched them play," he said. "That's up to you guys to decide. That's what the media always talks about. They rate everybody. We just play the game."