Ups and Downs: Week 22

I have nothing funny to say. - USA Today Sports

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

What a tough week to be a Sens fan.

The schedule was strange, the results were painful.

A heartbreaker on Monday against the Predators saw the Ottawa Senators make a furious third period comeback that fell just short as they lost in overtime.

Then of course, came Montreal. That game against the Canadiens is probably the most representative of the 2013-2014 season. Of all the heartbreakers, all the poor efforts, all the nights with ugly refereeing, that was the one that hurt the most. Up 4-1, game basically in hand, against a team that they 100% needed to beat, they give up three late goals, and lose in overtime.

If that was not enough, Sunday saw the Senators badly outshoot the Avalanche, and managed to lose once again on home ice. On Friday I wrote that the playoffs were a pipe dream. As of writing this, they are as likely as me winning the lottery.

This is the best summary of the past week:

While it was a certifiable train wreck for the team, let us look at individual performances.

Biggest Gains: Jason Spezza - Easy to choose either Spezza or Hemsky here, but I lean Spezza. 5 points, including the game tying goal against the Preds is what seals this. Is he the player he once was? Maybe not. Does he still frustrate fans by making some silly plays and questionable defensive decisions? Ya. But he is paid to put up points. He wasn't earlier in the year. Since the Hemsky addition, he looks like a new player, and he's generating offence. Here is hoping Hemsky enjoys playing with him enough to re-sign.

Biggest Losses: Robin Lehner - Lehner Nation has been pining all year for this guy to get a shot due to the inept play of Craig Anderson. With a chance at back to back games with Anderson sidelined, Lehner quite frankly blew it. The Habs game was well in hand when he let in a few bad, bad goals allowing Montreal back in it. His second half of the season shows that he may not be ready to be our saviour just yet.

Goaltenders Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Anderson only appeared in 1 game this week, but he allowed 3 goals on 29 shots in that game before leaving with injury. Didn't put the team in a good position to win.
Robin Lehner See "Biggest losses."
Defensemen
Cody Ceci Ceci seems to have finally hit a bit of a wall. I'm not ready to say he's hurting the team, but he's not playing as well as he was earlier in the year. Still like when he joins the rush.
Jared Cowen Thought Jared actually didn't stand out negatively this week, and he got the ball rolling against the Preds with a great goal. With a low bar having been set, thats a good week.
Eric Gryba Thought Gryba had a solid week. Played monster minutes on Monday due to Ceci injury. Jumped into the play quite a bit early on in the game against Colorado.
Erik Karlsson Karlsson had 4 points this week in just three games, bringing the total to 61 on the year. Hard to ask for more from the guy. At the same time... when you need wins, you need your game breaker to do even more. Its not fair, but that's how it is.
Marc Methot We know what we're getting when he plays with Karlsson. Again. Scored a goal at home too!
Chris Phillips The optics were against old man Phillips this week. His fumbling of the puck at the blueline in overtime Monday cost the Sens the game, and his Great One impression led to an Andre Benoit goal against the Avs. He needed help from his teammates, but he also didn't do his part.
Patrick Wiercioch I don't get it.
Forwards
Erik Condra I hardly noticed Condra this week, which is pretty much Erik Condra in a nutshell.
Ales Hemsky Get this man a contract. He must have brought a defibrillator in his hockey bag because he has revived Spezza. He was the magic man this week.
Mike Hoffman Love his speed, not sure I love him on the powerplay. Think he has the tools to be a solid contributor next season.
Colin Greening Colin plays too much. He may have had his best game in recent memory until the last ten minutes of the 3rd in Montreal. But then...
Matt Kassian Made way for Clarke MacArthur to return to the lineup. Thanks Matt!
Clarke MacArthur Returned to the lineup with a bang. A big goal for his 20(!) of the season, and a big hit on a nice back check against Matt Duchene and the Avs. Welcome back, Clarke MacBeautiful.
Milan Michalek After seemingly coming alive against the Jets the week previous, a big goose egg for Milo this week. With his linemates finding goals for Jared Cowen and Marc Methot, time for MM9 to start putting the puck in the net.
Chris Neil Chris Neil penalty, opposition goal, unrequited adoration by large segment of fan base, repeat. I honestly don't know what else to say.
Bobby Ryan I think he's playing hurt. That said, a couple more points this week, and a lot of passion and fire at the end of the Montreal game. But the team needed goals this week, and he had none to offer.
Z. Smith In addition to his big goal (that ended up not being all that important), I thought Zack looked very good this week. Yes, people are upset at his ice time, but I think with better linemates people wouldn't be as upset about his usage. He's a good player.
Jason Spezza See "Biggest Gains"
Kyle Turris Just the one assist (though it was a beauty). Also, even if the call was weak, his late penalty in Montreal was huge. Needed more from our top centre.
Mika Zibanejad Scored a goal in garbage time to cap off a nice game against Colorado. Needs to use that big shot on the power play now that he's getting time.

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

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