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Senators ups and downs: Week Six

Nick Foligno's desire to get the puck no matter what has him as the week's biggest gainer. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Nick Foligno's desire to get the puck no matter what has him as the week's biggest gainer. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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Ups and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Senators for the past week.

It was an interesting week for the Ottawa Senators, as they went 1-2-0, with losses to the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres before putting together a quality win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2. Captain Daniel Alfredsson also returned from an injury in a very short amount of time, something that has become a trademark for him. When he retires, the team should start collecting his blood and transfusing it into their players.

Regardless of the Senators' vampiric future plans, the output fans saw this week was more in line for what we were expecting from the team throughout this season: great work ethic, some mind-numbing mistakes, and the occasional complete game where everything goes right. As all of the team's young players gain experience, we should see more and more of the latter.

Biggest Gains: Nick Foligno
We wrote last week that Foligno's intensity and physicality were undeniable, and the statement held true for this week as well. That's what consistency means to us, and thanks to Foligno's efforts, there's no denying he was Ottawa's best player this week. He laid a blistering eight hits on Toronto and recorded two goals in that game, sparking the win. With three goals in three games for the week, he's now tied for second on the team with Jason Spezza. When that's the company you're keeping, you're doing all right.

Biggest Losses: Zenon Konopka
What exactly does Konopka bring to the team? We're not sure he showcased anything this week: he went 2-for-5 on faceoffs (note: he actually went 4-for-6 on faceoffs, which definitely counts as showcasing something), had one shot on goal, one penalty, three hits, and two fights, one of which game just three minutes into the game. That Konopka doesn't get many minutes is not his fault, but he simply must do something with them. If his contribution is merely going to be a meaningless fight, it's a contribution the Senators could do without unless he can find a better opponent to take to the box with him.

(read on for the full breakdown....)

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Let in two goals on six shots against Buffalo, costing the team any real chance at victory, but bounced back with a strong, strong performance against Toronto.
Alex Auld Auld saw action thanks to Anderson's atrocious start against Buffalo, but didn't do his team any favors, as the final score was 5-1 in favor of the Sabres.

Jared Cowen He is the most boring player to write about. Gets his hits and shuts down his assignments. He's going to be a stud for the team for a long, long time. Also had a fight against the Rangers, which showed that he shouldn't be fighting.
Sergei Gonchar Boom. Goals in back-to-back games against Buffalo and Toronto. He can rifle the puck when he gets the chance.
Erik Karlsson Karlsson is on a three-game assist streak, the last one an absolute beauty to send Nick Foligno on a breakaway against Toronto.
Filip Kuba Kuba did not have a good week, given that most if the goals scored against the Senators were the result of not clearing the crease--something that is not one of his strengths.
Brian Lee Lee got in a game against Toronto and didn't look out of place. Solid but unspectacular. Ladies and gentlemen... Brian Lee.
Chris Phillps Remains a much better player with a reduction in minutes and not playing against top lines. Dinged for some unpleasantly stupid penalties against Toronto.
David Rundblad He was shaky in his return, making a painful turnover that directly led to a goal, but rebounded with a stronger performance against Buffalo. So, of course he sat out the next game.
Matt Carkner Currently injured.

Daniel Alfredsson Alfie's return was quick, and it's a good sign that Foligno has emerged in his absence. The team needs a second line that can score.
Bobby Butler Butler got some time on the first line against Toronto, but has been playing mostly fourth line minutes. That's not a recipe for success.
Erik Condra Demoted through no fault of his own. He's just getting outplayed by Daugavins.
Stephane Da Costa Like most of the team's rookies, consistency is his biggest issue. Played a strong game against New York, but was mostly invisible against Toronto. Unfortunately does not have the luxury of developing away from scrutiny, but we're not going to fault him too much for that.
Kaspars Daugavins His intensity level earned him a promotion to the third line, where he plays with Z.Smith, who has as polar opposite of an attitude as possible. We smell a buddy cop TV show: "Z. Smith and the Rooster"!
Nick Foligno See "Biggest gains."
Colin Greening After putting up four goals and four assists in October, Greening has no points in November.
Zenon Konopka See "Biggest losses."
Milan Michalek Two goals in three games. You know you're hot when you don't have to touch the puck to get awarded a goal.
Chris Neil Sidelined by an ankle injury. The team misses him.
Peter Regin Out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Zack Smith A two-point (1G, 1A) against Toronto made us consider him as the biggest gainer, but for Foligno. It's worth noting that Z. Smith leads the team in plus/minus. He is emerging as a good third line center.
Jason Spezza
Picked up two assists in the losses, and went pointless in the win against Toronto. We're okay with this.
Jesse Winchester We suspect the team's recent improvement in PK has something to do with Winchester's play. He is a quintessential "little things" player.