Senators Ups and Downs: Week 13

Z. Smith showed some good puck skills this week. - USA TODAY Sports

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

The Ottawa Senators faced a schedule this week in which it was expected they'd land zero of six points. Instead, they bagged four. A shutout victory over a depleted Penguins team and a nail-biting 4-3 win over the Bruins bookended a shutout loss to that same Bruins team. The team's inconsistency woes continue, but two wins out of three keeps them in the playoff hunt, and that pace should be good enough to get them into the playoffs. Wins against skilled teams demonstrate what the Senators can be, but the question for this team all year has been whether they can string it together. They came closer this week, and that's a good sign.

Biggest gains: Z. Smith

Z. Smith had a goal in both Senators wins this week. Coincidence? Staff scientists say no. Z. Smith opened the scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins by burying a rebound early to help the team set the tone, and against the Boston Bruins, scored a crucial shorthanded goal that put the team up 3-1. Of course, he also took a very late penalty in that game, which put the final outcome in doubt as the team closed out the game facing a 6-on-4 power play. That's been kind of a pattern very recently, as his goal last week's game came directly via his exit from the penalty box. He's a hard-nosed player and that means penalties are inevitable, but anytime he can contribute secondary scoring, it's not unsurprising that the team is able to win.

Biggest losses:Joe Corvo

Our Corvo hate train plows forward. The defenseman was scratched for most of the week and drew back into the lineup with Phillips injured and Gryba not making an impact. The result? TWO holding penalties! One of those penalties resulted in Z. Smith's goal, so that's good, but we doubt that's how it got drawn up on the whiteboard. Corvo had a strong stretch of play a while back, but that's faded for the Corvo more familiar to Senators fans. And, yeah, it's unfair to target one guy when the entire defense is struggling. It's as true for Corvo as it was for Cowen. We've never cared for the "Uh Oh Corvo" nickname or reputation, but he had a tough game in his one shot at getting back in the lineup. We'd rather see Phillips or Gryba play, but we suspect this game will be enough to make Darren Dreger's predictions about the team trading for Michael Del Zotto come to fruition.

Goaltenders Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Delivered a strong game in shutting out the Penguins, and played well enough to beat the Bruins.
Robin Lehner Lehner got lit up for five goals yet again, but we have a hard time laying the blame at his feet.
Defensemen
Cody Ceci Ceci was a factor in both wins, totalling three assists. He's playing too well to be sent down.
Joe Corvo See "Biggest losses."
Jared Cowen Still looks steady alongside Karlsson. It would be great if he could salvage his season that way.
Eric Gryba Apparently his play in a 5-0 loss to the Boston Bruins was lacking enough that he was scratched for Corvo. We don't know how to feel about that.
Erik Karlsson Three point game against Pittsburgh overshadows his other mistakes.
Marc Methot Cooled off a bit from last week, but still continues to play more like the guy we saw last year.
Chris Phillips Eh.
Patrick Wiercioch Scoring a goal is a good way to stay in the lineup after being scratched. Corvo should have done that.
Forwards
Cory Conacher Now back on a hot streak. 3P (2G, 1A) in 3 games.
Erik Condra Pretty standard Condra, but his PK skills set up Z. Smith's shorty.
Colin Greening He's been harder to knock off the puck recently. Now he just needs to get to the front of the net to make that skill pay off.
Matt Kassian We all know what we're getting here.
Clarke MacArthur He had two assists against Pittsburgh, but was quiet in both games against Boston.
Milan Michalek Didn't manage any offense this week.
Chris Neil We're less impressed with the fighting. But apparently Neil is the one who challenged his teammates to play better against Boston? And he didn't do it with his fists!
Jean-Gabriel Pageau We can't get that turnover out of our heads. You know the one we mean.
Bobby Ryan Two more goals, including a huge game-winner, this week.
Z. Smith See "Biggest gains."
Jason Spezza Out with a lower-body injury. Didn't have many points before that.
Kyle Turris Another goal and another assist. Decent week for T.
Mika Zibanejad Very happy to see him play well in Spezza's place. Bodes well for the future.

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

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