Senators ups and downs: Playoff edition

The Ottawa Senators' strategy of drawing boobs on all the pucks is paying dividends. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

(Ups and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Ottawa Senators during the past week.)

When we last left our heroes, they were tied 1-1 with the Eastern Conference champions--a position they had to be thrilled with when considering where everyone thought they might wind up before the season started. Since then, things are looking up. The Senators are now up 3-2 in the series, and it is not a fluke. The team is strongly committed to playing for each other, and the results are speaking for themselves.

Biggest gains: Craig Anderson
Since game one, Anderson has saved 121 of 126 shots, including a game five shutout in New York, for a save percentage of 96%. You want a reason the Senators are leading the series? There it is.

Biggest losses: Jesse Winchester
Just a hugely disappointing way for the kid to go out. Winchester had been an integral part of the team's penalty-killing and faceoff success, and it was great to see him playing so well after missing most of the season with a concussion. Now he's out with a concussion again. Considering how severe his last one was, don't expect him back anytime soon.

(read on for the full rundown...)

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson See "Biggest gains."
Ben Bishop Hasn't played.
Defensemen
Matt Carkner We thought his impact would be limited to punching Brian Boyle, but he has been a very solid defender on the third pairing since returning from his suspension--and his dangle to set up Michalek was a thing of beauty.
Jared Cowen He's improved since last week, but you can still feel that he's a rookie in his first series. There's a lot of information to analyze really quickly, and absolutely no room for mistakes. Not a good combination for a youngster.
Sergei Gonchar Not initiating contact, but with a power play goal and an assist, he essentially won game four by himself. He's doing his part.
Matt Gilroy Hasn't played since Carkner returned from suspension.
Erik Karlsson If there were a gray arrow, we'd give it to him. He had no points in three games this week, but made up for it with strong defensive play--he was a plus-2 in that same span. He's still generating offense, too, averaging approximately 500 shots per game.
Filip Kuba No penalties on Kuba this week and the team goes 2-1. Coincidence? We doubt it. Kuba has been an instrumental penalty killer for the team.
Chris Phillips In three games, Marian Gaborik has just five shots and only two assists, both coming early on the power play in game four, which the Senators would go on to win in overtime. Gaborik was third in the league in goals--Phillips has smothered him.
Forwards
Daniel Alfredsson Still out with a concussion, but the team has finally won a playoff game without him. May return this week.
Bobby Butler Drew in for Alfie, and has played like a man possessed. Does not look out of place with Turris and Foligno.
Erik Condra
Missed a glorious shorthanded breakaway chance in game five, but the important part is that he had the chance. Condra's been opportunistic all series long.
Kaspars Daugavins Hasn't played.
Nick Foligno His game is suited for the playoffs--his three points are tied for second on the team in scoring.
Colin Greening Not showing up on the scoresheet, which sucks for a first-line player, but he's doing just about everything else right. He looks amazing on the third line, however.
Rob Klinkhammer I guess you could say that Klinkhammertime... has been stopped. YEAAAAAAAAH!
Zenon Konopka Won 10 of 12 faceoffs--most of them critical--on the road last game. That's ridiculous.
Milan Michalek He's been able to use his speed the past few games. It's no coincidence that he's scored his first goal of the series and had several more great scoring chances.
Chris Neil Can't say enough about his leadership.
Jim O'Brien He's been flying these past three games. And he's been strong on the penalty kill. And he knows when to drop a pass, unlike Spezza.
Zack Smith His line is not showing up on the scoresheet, but they are head coach Paul MacLean's secret weapon. Together with Greening and Neil, Z. Smith is getting played in every situation.
Jason Spezza We're not going to talk about him shooting more, because everyone has done that already. We love the way he responded to the building criticism, though.
Mark Stone Notched an assist on his first shift. That's pretty good, right?
Kyle Turris You saw this, right?
Jesse Winchester See "Biggest losses."
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