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Senators Ups and Downs: Week 26

If you read this week's ups and downs carefully, you may detect a theme.  If you don't read carefully, you will probably detect the same theme:  Everyone stunk against Pittsburgh but rebounded.  All in all, the team went 2-1 on the week, deflukifying their recent wins against New Jersey and Tampa Bay by repeating them.  Luckily(?), the team had played so poorly in the early part of the year that they are still likely to finish in the bottom three.


Biggest Gains: Curtis McElhinney
Ottawa's Backup rose to the challenge, big time, after starter Craig Anderson was unable to play due to injury.  McElhinney repeatedly made timely big saves against New Jersey to give his teammates a chance to capitalize on their chances, which they eventually did.  He then repeated the performance against Tampa Bay.  Making big saves despite being down 2-0, McElhinney kept the team in a game where they were getting thumped, and they repaid him with a third period for the ages, eventually walking away with a 3-2 OT win.

Biggest Losses: Marek Svatos
He's played 12 games for the Senators and scored no points.   It's hard to understand why he's getting second line minutes when he simply hasn't done anything with them.  It might be a safe bet to say that his next NHL point will be his last.

(read on for the full rundown...)

Goalies Trend Notes
Pascal Leclaire We haven't heard a peep from him since his injury aggravation in the AHL, and we don't expect to before he becomes a free agent.  Expects lots of cliches about "loving" the city/fans and how it's "unfortunate" that things didn't work out better
Curtis McElhinney See "Biggest Gains."
Craig Anderson A lower body injury kept him out most of the week, and was probably a factor in his looking ordinary in his last start, a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

Sergei Gonchar Gonchar had been turning in a stretch of good play -- both offensive and defensive -- when he left the Tampa Bay with a concussion that may cost him the rest of the season.
Erik Karlsson Hard to believe that only a few weeks ago, Karlsson was struggling mightily.  He turned in a very rough performance against Pittsburgh, and followed it up with three points (3A) in two games against New Jersey and Tampa Bay.  He was a combined plus-4 in those games and confidently led many good rushes.
Brian Lee It's time to give Lee his due: In three games this week, he was only minus-1 and had six hits and nine blocked shots.  He's probably never going to live up to his draft position, but he's no longer a liability to his teammates. 
Chris Phillips Played a lifeless game against Pittsburgh (who didn't?) and then was tasked with shutting down Patrik Elias, Ilya Kovalchuk, Steven Stamkos, and Martin St. Louis.  Their stats?  1 assist.  Combined.
Filip Kuba Kuba was even for the week.  I guess you can't ask for more than that.
Andre Benoit Poor guy was brought up for one game -- the slaughter by Pittsburgh -- before being returned to Binghamton.  What a confidence booster.
David Hale Hale is Mr. Steady.
Matt Carkner Will probably miss the rest of the year.

Colin Greening Greening followed up a rough game against Pittsburgh with a strong game against New Jersey before an unremarkable effort against Tampa Bay.  Typical learning ups and downs.
Jason Spezza With three points (1G, 2A) in three games, Spezza remains hot this week.
Bobby Butler No points this week for Butler.  No other major contributions, either.
Marek Svatos See "Biggest Losses."
Ryan Shannon We strongly considered him for biggest gains: Shannon is playing better than his stats indicate, and he's on a three-game goal streak.
Erik Condra Condra is benefiting from playing with Shannon.  His improvement in play without the puck is starting to become very noticeable. 
Nick Foligno Believe it or not, Foligno is on a three-game point streak (1G, 2A), the same as Jason Spezza.  The difference is that we noticed Spezza this week.
Zack Smith Two quality assists give him the first point streak of his career!  8 PIMs keep us from giving him a green arrow.
Chris Neil Neil had two goals against the Devils and an assist against the Lightning.  This week also marks four straight games he's done some kind of unexpected hockey move, only this week those moves also paid off.  Kudos to you, Chris.
Francis Lessard Still not making major contributions to the team. 
Jesse Winchester
Fairly unremarkable week for Winch.  The fourth line was not called upon much in any of the games.
Jim O'Brien Like Andre Benoit, was unfairly called up as nothing more than cannon fodder for the Penguins game. 
Roman Wick Despite not showing up on the score sheet, the Candle played well enough against New Jersey to earn a chance to stick around and play against Tampa Bay.  We still think fourth line minutes are not the correct way to develop him.
Daniel Alfredsson Out indefinitely with a back injury.
Milan Michalek Out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Peter Regin Out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.