Senators Ups and Downs: Week 6

"Everyone who's not good at hockey, high-five me!" - Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo

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

Hey, that was a better week! The Senators put together three wins in a row, which I'm told is called a "streak." They weren't impressive wins. They didn't come against impressive opponents, but let's be real for a minute--that doesn't matter right now. Ottawa has been reeling since the season began, and because of that, every positive is a huge positive. If the team can gain confidence from a few wins, that should translate to better play for the rest of the season. If that happens, we won't look back at these wins as the struggles they were, we'll just look at them as wins.

Biggest gains: Clarke MacArthur

Bobby Ryan had more points. Robin Lehner had three straight wins. But MacArthur gets chosen because of the way he's come on in the past three games. It took him a while to get his first goal--he's been kind of the third wheel alongside Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan--but he's recorded two more, including a game-winner, in short order. He also recorded two primary assists, which gives him four points in three games. It's great to see MacArthur get rewarded for playing the complementary role on a great line. MacArthur was signed mostly for the little things that he does that aren't recorded on a stats sheet, so it's very cool to see him scoring.

Biggest losses: Milan Michalek

He hasn't missed any time due to knee problems. He doesn't look slower. But Michalek has looked invisible this week. That's often been our complaint with him--he's not quite capable of generating offense on his own. For most of this week, he was playing on the third line, so it's not surprising that he had no points. But in the final game, against a weak opponent in the Florida Panthers, and playing alongside Jason Spezza--who led him to 35 goals--and Mika Zibanejad--no stranger to creative plays--Michalek was still invisible. He should be feasting on the matchups that third lines and second lines face.

Goaltenders Trend Notes
Craig Anderson The last time he was day-to-day, he was out for months. Looks like that won't happen this tie around--he's expected to start against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Robin Lehner Three starts, three wins. Finally getting results worthy of his perormances. Might be the most entertaining player on the Ottawa Senators.
Defensemen
Mark Borowiecki No own-goals this week deserves a green arrow on its own. BoroCop also scored his first goal against an opponent, and simply looks like a refreshingly competent defender so far.
Joe Corvo Corvo is now behind Borowiecki, Wiercioch, and Gryba. He might not play for a while
Jared Cowen Experiencing the Kuba Effect. It looks like playing with Karlsson is exactly what Cowen is going to need to get his season on track.
Eric Gryba Gryba had two assists this week, so of course he gets scratched to get Wiercioch playing time?
Erik Karlsson Another 3P (2G, 1A) in 3G for Ottawa's best player. Had an adventurous turnover for a goal against Florida, but Erik Karlsson is gonna do what Erik Karlsson does.
Marc Methot What you have to like most about Methot is how he doesn't change his game. Different partner, different position, same Methot.
Chris Phillips No opponent scored a goal when Phillips was defending this week. As a third-pairing guy, you can't really ask for more than that from him.
Patrick Wiercioch Pretty unremarkable game against Florida. Gryba probably didn't deserve to get scratched for P-Dubs this week, but Wiercioch isn't going to get better by not playing.
Forwards
Cory Conacher Tough to get a feel for Conacher's week. We know he's got the talent to produce alongside other talent, but he's not getting those opportunities in Ottawa.
Erik Condra Still hurt. Needs to return to get Kassian out.
Derek Grant He's a better fourth-line center than Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Stephane Da Costa, and Jim O`Brien... combined.
Colin Greening Greening's use is incongruent with his new contract. If he is what the Senators are paying him next year to be, he hasn't shown it this week.
Matt Kassian Got in his requisite fights this week, but watching him skate, it's obvious he's holding the rest of his line back.
Clarke MacArthur See "Biggest Gains."
Milan Michalek See "Biggest Losses."
Chris Neil Better week for Neil. Scored a huge goal for his team, and none of his penalties were terrible. Had a fight that killed a rush, but whatever.
Bobby Ryan Did you know: With 5P (1G, 4A) in 3 games, it's now en vogue to say Bobby Ryan is good.
Z. Smith Gettting used more than Spezza, which is interesting, because playing with Greening and Neil, he hasn't looked nearly as good as Spezza.
Jason Spezza Now the team's second-line center. Got an upgrade in linemates with Zibanejad and Michalek. Had two assists in three games. And yet... the team is desperately looking to him to stabilize the top six.
Kyle Turris Did you know: With 4P (2G, 2A) in 3 games, the people who didn't want Turris when the Senators gave up David Rundblad were straight-up wrong.
Mika Zibanejad Got himself a goal, but not alongside Spezza. Needs to give the Senators a viable 2nd line. He's too talented to play with Spezza and not generate points.

Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japer's Rink for our icons!

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