In four games this week, the Senators were 3-1. Don't they know they're supposed to be tanking so that fans can spend the next two months debating which forward they need to draft? Short intro. You probably didn't even read this sentence. On to the biggests!
Biggest Gains: Jason Spezza
I'm just going to plagiarize Peter (and myself) here, because there's really no better way to say this:
Unreal. Spezza played 25:13 TOI [against Tampa Bay], far and away a season-high, and more than any other skater tonight--forwards or defencemen. He had the opening goal, four shots on goal, and won 13 of 22 faceoffs he took. Every game, night in and night out, this guy seems to continue gaining more responsibility on this team--and every time, he seems to respond to it by stepping up his game once more.
So... Jason Spezza created all four goals for the Senators [against Buffalo]. He scored two himself and assisted on two others. He led all Ottawa forwards with 19:48 TOI, took a team-high five shots, hit a post, won 18 of his 28 faceoffs, and managed a plus-1 rating on a night where the opposing team scored six goals.
This is the second game in a row where Spezza has looked not just strong, but like a leader on the ice. If there are any remaining doubts about who the next captain of this team should be, this game should go a long way towards erasing them.
Biggest Losses: Francis Lessard
It's rare that we'd put someone not named Alex Kovalev here two weeks in a row, but his PIMs are starting to creep up near his TOI. Although Lessard was utterly scapegoated for charging Scott Timmins of Florida, the fact remains that getting five-minute majors and game misconducts doesn't typically help your team. Besides punching Jay Rosehill in the head a lot, taking penalties seems to be Lessard's only contribution to the team. And it's a contribution the Senators could do without.
|Pascal Leclaire||He's only on here as a courtesy.|
|Curtis McElhinney||Made a strong debut in the 2-1 win against Tampa Bay. Many thought he should have gotten the start against the weaker Florida Panthers. Did the coaching staff know something fans didn't? Based on his uncomfortable non-save against Nathan Gerbe in Buffalo, probably not.
|Craig Anderson||Led the team to 2-1 victories over the Devils and Panthers before getting pulled in a 6-3 loss to the Sabres, where he let in four goals on 17 shots. The Sabres loss was not a strong outing, but the other two were.
|Three assists in four games and a plus-1 rating on the week. That's more like it.
|Erik Karlsson||Five points (3G, 2A) in four games, including both tallies in a 2-1 win over the Panthers. Kid is suddenly blazing.
|So close to a green arrow (seven hits and seven blocked shots in three games helps a lot) before turning in a mediocre performance against Buffalo. We're not blaming his minus-3 rating in that game solely on him, but where were the hits and blocked shots? Not a good game to disappear in.
|Chris Phillips||Not a good week, capped off by an utterly forgettable game against Buffalo. That's all we'll say.
|Filip Kuba||There were signs his play was slipping last week, and it looked like they were true. Kuba was not what scientists would call "good" this week in any area of the game.|
|Derek Smith||This is the new Brian Lee. Except everyone has lower expectations of him because he wasn't drafted 9th overall. Just a body until Carkner can return, which might be a while.|
|Matt Carkner||Might miss the rest of the year.
|Colin Greening||A goal and two assists in four games. Looks like playing with Jason Spezza is helping.|
|Jason Spezza||See "Biggest Gains."
|Bobby Butler||Notched an assist against the Panthers and the game winning goal against the Lightning. Not a bad week, all things considered.
|Marek Svatos||Same as it ever was: Still waiting for his first point as a Senator. Not very noticeable when playing. He had five shots against Tampa Bay, so at least he's trying.
|Ryan Shannon||He was one of three players we were considering for biggest gains. His point total for the week (just two assists) does not reflect the way he's playing on the ice.
|Erik Condra||How do you follow up the first slump after the first two-goal game of your career? If you're Erik Condra, you just have another two-goal game. Important note: Condra is pointless since his two-goal game against New Jersey. This means he will score two goals against Pittsburgh.
|Nick Foligno||After showing signs of life, Foligno was invisible for most of this week. One wonders what's going on.
|Zack Smith||Speaking of signs of life, we were fans of Z. Smith's play in general this week. Still needs consistency, but that only comes with logging minutes.
|Chris Neil||Had a pretty sweet dangle against the Sabres. Didn't score, though, 'cause he's still Chris Neil.
|Francis Lessard||See "Biggest Losses."|
Against Buffalo, he was a plus-1 with an assist and won 60% of his faceoffs. What else do you want from a fourth liner? Probably better linemates if you're Jesse Winchester, but he's doing his part.
|Ryan Potulny||Out indefinitely with invisibility.
|Daniel Alfredsson||Out indefinitely with a back injury.|
|Milan Michalek||Out indefinitely with a foot injury.|
|Peter Regin||Out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.|