The Senators completed their worst week of the year at exactly the wrong time of year. They put together a putrid 0-3-0 stretch, which means they are now winless in their last four. Frustratingly enough, it's not the losses that matter so much, it's the way they're losing--dropping games to teams at the bottom of the standings is not something you'd expect to see from a playoff team.
Now, look, slumps happen. The Toronto Maple Leafs put together an 0-3-2 run from March 7th to March 12th that had some writing them off, and now they're holding down the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Senators still control their own destiny down the stretch, but now they've played away their cushion.
Biggest Gains: Cory Conacher
Took him just two games to score his first goal as a Senator, and his speed has made the second line even more dangerous. More importantly, Conacher is always around the net and has already drawn three penalties. It's pretty easy to see why general manager Bryan Murray liked him so much. This is a kid who creates offense both with and without the puck.
Biggest Losses: Jim O`Brien
O'Brien played just 5:18 and picked up two penalties, both for hooking, against the Boston Bruins. He was scratched the rest of the week. This is notable because the player who replaced O'Brien--Peter Regin--has not been any better. O'Brien must be deep in head coach Paul MacLean's doghouse if he hasn't gotten a second chance since then.
|Craig Anderson||Anderson's glorious return saw him only save 88.2% of the shots he faced. But the two goals that beat him were deflections, so whatever. Anderson has only allowed more than two goals in 3 of his 16 games.|
|Ben Bishop||Hail and farewell, Big Ben. In the end, he pulled down more for Ottawa than a 2nd round pick. One last green arrow for him.|
|Lehner's debut as an undisputed NHL goalie was a flop. But he also had a 47-save gem in Boston. That was also a loss, but not one that could be laid at his feet.|
|Andre Benoit||Scored a goal and is better than Lundin.|
|Eric Gryba||Scored another goal, and wasn't at fault in any of the losses this week.|
|Sergei Gonchar||Gonchar had no points this week, and the power play went 0-for-12. Is there a connection? We don't like to speculate, but the answer is yes.|
|Mike Lundin||Last week, we wondered why Lundin was scratched for Benoit. But a tough game against Buffalo answered that question.|
|Marc Methot||With a goal and an assist, Methot's doing his part. But if the team is looking to Methot to fill Karlsson's shoes, well, that's a bad plan.|
|Chris Phillips||Tough week for Phillips, as he missed his man multiple times resulting in goals.|
|Wierciocj had no points this week, and the power play went 0-for-12. Is there a connection? We don't like to speculate, but the answer is yes. Difference between Gonchar and Wiercioch? Oh, about 18 seasons.|
|Now is the time for Alfie to lead.|
See "Biggest gains."
|Condra is an integral part of a PK that stopped 5 of 6 chances this week, but his linemates are killing him.|
|12 shots, 8 hits, and 1 goal in three games this week.|
|Matt Kassian||The fourth line hasn't looked as good since Kassian joined it, and it's slowly getting worse.|
|Guillaume Latendresse||No chemistry at all with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson.
|19 hits, and 1 assist this week. He even chipped in 5 shots. If he could hit the net, he'd have some goals.|
|See "Biggest losses."|
|Regin's getting hammered on faceoffs, and only playing 9 minutes a night. The fourth line's ineffectiveness is a major factor in the team's struggles.|
|On a three-game assist streak. And he took 10 shots in three games. He's spraying goalies with pucks.|
|Winning faceoffs with regularity, and took 10 shots himself. Only managed 1 assist himself, though. The third line's not the problem.|
|No chemistry with Latendresse and not enough shots. He's just out there to clear space for the Calder Line at this point, which is what Spezza used to do for him.|
|With 4 assists in 3 games, Zibanejad is centering Ottawa's only effective line.|