The Week Ahead: Oct 13 to 19

Jonas Hiller is actually the stage name for the world's most successful improv puppeteer - Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Sens finish out their western road trip, and finally open at home.

It's a busy week, with 4 games on the schedule. The Sens have stops in Anaheim and Phoenix, then finish with a pair back in Ottawa.

Senators at Ducks

Game 5, Sunday October 13th
Previous game
Rangers, Thursday October 10th
Next game
Flames, Wednesday October 16th
Hot
Mathieu Perreault - 5P (2G, 3A) in last 3 GP
Jakob Silfverberg - 5P (4G, 1A) in last 4 GP
Cold
Viktor Fasth (.826 SV%, 4.00 GAA)

A game certainly circled in the calendars of Bobby Ryan and Jakob Silfverberg, the Sens are in Anaheim to visit the rested and red hot Ducks.

Both Silfverberg and Mathieu Perreault are riding hot streaks built on facing lower than average competition and unsustainable shooting percentages (but show me a streak that isn't). It's bound to end sooner or later for both of them, and hopefully for Ottawa that is sooner.

The good news for the Senators is that despite having trouble scoring on the power play and even more trouble keeping the puck out of the net on the penalty kill, the Ducks are even worse - 6.7% on the power play, and 61.5% on the penalty kill so far this season. This is a matchup where the Sens could actually win the special teams battles.

Dustin Penner, Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perreault all left the last game with injuries. It sounds like Bonino and Perreault are cleared for Sunday, as well as the previously injured Kyle Palmieri. Right now, it sounds like Penner will be out.

Senators at Coyotes

Game 6, Tuesday October 15th
Previous game
@Hurricanes, Sunday October 13th
Next game
@Ducks, Friday October 18th
Hot
Martin Hanzal - 3P (1G, 2A) in last 3 GP
Cold
Keith Yandle - 0P in last 4 GP

The Phoenix Coyotes have been pretty average to start the season in some ways. Their point percentage and place in the standings? Average. Mike Smith's .911 SV%? Average. Rolled over the Rangers? Average. Steamrolled by the Sharks? Average. Stable ownership? Average.

Truth is, nobody is really standing out for them. I listed Hanzal as being hot, and relatively he is, but it's not a standout performance league wide. Even Yandle's slow start isn't really standout bad, based just on 5 games.

About the only things that aren't average are the special teams, with both the PK and the PP being in the bottom 3rd of the league.

Devils at Senators

Game 7, Thursday October 17th
Previous game
@Jets, Sunday October 13th
Next game
Rangers, Saturday October 19th
Hot
Damien Brunner - 5P (3G, 2A) in last 4 GP
Cold
Martin Brodeur (.878 SV%, 3.19 GAA)
Cory Schneider (.887 SV%, 2.95 GAA)

Yeah, you read that right. Both the old and new hotness for the Devils in net make the cold list, but a pair of sub-900 save percentages will do that. And it's not even due to the amount of rubber they're facing - the New Jersey defence is as stingy as usual. They're allowing an average of 27 shots per game, good for 7th best in the league. This level of goaltending likely won't last for either of them, but hopefully it lasts past Thursday for whoever gets the start that night.

That goaltending might have something to do with why they're one of only 2 teams without a win so far this season, and are off to a dismal 0-2-3 start. Another reason is special teams, which aren't looking so good either with a 10% power play and 76.9% penalty kill. While that PK% isn't too far off of Ottawa's numbers so far this season, the Devils haven't had the strong 5 on 5 play to help make up for it.

Oilers at Senators

Game 8, Saturday October 19th
Previous game
@Islanders, Thursday October 17th
Next game
@Canadiens, Tuesday October 22nd
Hot
Taylor Hall - 4P (1G, 3A) in last 3 GP
Cold
Devan Dubnyk (.829 SV%, 5.43 GAA)

Have you seen the Oilers goaltending? If so, for a reward please return to:

11230 - 110 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T5G 3H7

But seriously, it's bad. Dubnyk has been horrible, and Jason LaBarbera hasn't been much better. They're doing even worse than the Devils tandem I just finished lambasting, and without the pedigree to expect as big of a bounce back.

Special teams are a mixed bag so far, with the power play cruising along at a solid 25%, but the penalty kill limping along at 72.2%. Which pretty much fits with how everything has gone for the team so far - good on the attack, dismal on defense.

Apart from Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is also doing quite well with 3 points in the last 3 games played. Though both of those players are getting plenty of time to make things happen - RNH is playing 26:25 per game, and Hall 23:38. That's the top 2 TOI per game for forwards, and RNH is 4th among all skaters.

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