It was a very tough week for the Ottawa Senators as they lost all three of their games by a combined score of 17-4. That, my friends, is how a losing streak is done. Those three losses dropped the team to 9-10-1, good for only 19 points and well out of a playoff spot. Obviously, the team went through some deeply emotionally troubling times this week, but that cannot be used as an excuse for every loss. They're reeling, and this week's trends reflect that.
Biggest Gains: Jesse Winchester
You're probably as shocked to see his name here as I am to write it, but the reality is that Winchester has probably been Ottawa's most consistent forward this past week. I was among the fans calling for Winchester to be replaced by Z. Smith this year, but he is one of the few players that is executing his role to the best of his ability every night. Coach Cory Clouston could not be asking more of this him right now -- in both games against the Flyers and Blues, Winchester was second on the team for shots on goal with three, and he scored an unassisted goal against St. Louis. Many of his teammates would do well to try and emulate his "just execute" attitude right now.
Biggest Losses: Brian Elliott
Just a week ago, Elliott was red-hot and coming off a shutout against Tim Thomas and the Bruins. This week he was shellacked for: five goals by the Flyers, four goals by the Canes, and five goals by the Blues. Yikes. What can only be described as a brain fart also set off a chain reaction of three goals in 86 seconds by the Blues, completely blowing the game wide-open for the opposition. Double yikes.
(read on for the full rundown...)
|Brian Elliott||See "Biggest Losses."|
|Pascal Leclaire||Followed up his six-goal shellacking by Vancouver with a three-goal shellacking against Carolina. Yes, after Elliott had already been shellacked for four. He's not the biggest loser only because Elliott played more this week.|
|Filip Kuba||Is it cool to start hating Kuba yet? Already minus three after just four games, Kuba's two assists are about as unimpressive as you can imagine. Still, no defenseman is playing well right now and he is just returning from a broken leg. Leeway is deserved here, and therefore given.|
|Chris Phillips||Phillips' struggles continue. It's hard to say what's wrong at this point. There are times when it looks like he's forgotten how to play.|
|Cooled off this week (who didn't?) but his 13 points (4G, 9A) directly offset his team-worst minus thirteen rating. Gonchar was brought in for offense from the back end; he is providing exactly that.|
Still scratched. Presumably at this point, if he could be traded, he would be.
|Erik Karlsson||Another player who followed up a great week with an awful one, Karlsson got strong consideration for biggest loser. No points from King K this week, but he did put together 10 PIMs, including six against Philadelphia alone -- and almost all of his penalties came at inopportune times for the team.|
|Chris Campoli||Back in his familar spot with Matt Carkner, Campoli was one of the few Senators players with a positive rating against St. Louis.|
|Matt Carkner||Believe it or not, Carkner leads the team in plus/minus rating and shot blocks. He's second in PIMs and hits.|
|David Hale||Hale is in limbo, as the team doesn't have room to play him with Kuba's return, and can't risk him being claimed off of waivers if he's returned to Binghamton. What a reward for steady play, huh?|
|Jason Spezza||It's not coincidence that during this losing streak, Spezza has just one point (the lone goal against Philadelphia) -- as he goes, so does the team. Still, his line is creating the majority of the team's chances... for better or for worse.|
|Alex Kovalev||Assisted on Spezza's goal, but not much else. Still he's on the line that's generating scoring chances...|
|Daniel Alfredsson||Despite an extended slump, Alfie is leading the team in both goals (8) and assists (9).|
|Milan Michalek||Still struggling to find chemistry with Fisher and Alfredsson.|
|Mike Fisher||Hurt or not, Fisher has been completely ineffective. He seems to be trending upwards with a good effort against St. Louis: a goal, two shot blocks, and a team-leading four shots is something to build on for the next game.|
|Nick Foligno||Foligno is getting outplayed by Jesse Winchester on the fourth line. There, I said it.|
|Chris Kelly||Remains quietly dependable. Still, no points this week and the penalty (Ottawa's fourth straight) that allowed the tying St. Louis goal are eyebrow-raising.|
|Chris Neil||Quiet week from Neil. The hits were still there, but not much else was.|
|Jarkko Ruutu||Jarkko has gone bye-bye. Now on a 14-game pointless "streak", it's hard to remember the last time he drew a penalty, though he's still committing them. If it weren't for his penalty-killing skills, he'd be contributing nothing to the team.|
|Peter Regin||Still playing well on the top line, I'd argue that Regin is the most important piece because of his ability to change his game to suit whatever it is Spezza or Kovalev is trying to do|
|Jesse Winchester||See "Biggest Gains"|
|Ryan Shannon||Needs to return to the effort level he had earlier in the year.|