(Ups and downs is a feature that recaps the individual performances of the Ottawa Senators for the last week. Craig Anderson.)
Yeah, so... You know that whole "Fail for Nail" thing from the start of the season? The Senators are doing it wrong. Playing against two of the most talented teams in the Eastern conference and Montreal, they went 3-0-0 on the week, earning six of six possible points on the road and outscoring their opponents 11-3 during those three games.
Nail Yakupov? Don't need him. The Senators' 146 goals (including shootouts) so far has them tied for third in the NHL with Chicago. The only two teams with more? Vancouver and Boston -- last year's Cup Finalists. Fourth in the NHL? Philadelphia. So that gives us four Cup contenders and Ottawa. Hm. And the team is adding to this mix next year with Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Sifverberg, who has 30 points in 32 games in the SEL this year. You'll probably hear more about those guys in Bobby Kelly's excellent prospect roundup tomorrow. The bottom line: The Sens are proving they're legit, and there's two more top-six prospects ready to join the team next year.
Biggest Gains: Craig Anderson
Remember the Anderson from last year? He's back: 3-0-0 on the week, .970 save percentage, 1 shutout, stopped all three Montreal shooters in the shootout. He might be the hottest player in the NHL right now. No exaggeration.
Biggest losses: Bobby Butler
It was really difficult to pick a biggest loser this week, because the Senators won all their games--and they did it with a team effort across all four lines. So why does a guy who was plus-2 and had a goal in three games get named the biggest loser? Well, it's certainly not because of his play. Let's just say this is more of a reflection the unfairness of Butler's continued presence on the fourth line--he's earned an opportunity for a bigger role in our eyes, yet he hasn't seemed to have gotten it. That sucks.
(read on for the full rundown...)
Okay, I believe you
|See "Biggest gains", then think about how awesome he is|
|We suppose he might get a start against Winnipeg tonight, since there's a division game against Toronto on Tuesday, but as hot as Anderson has been, there's telling when Auld might play.|
|Flip a coin. Heads you have Matt Carkner...|
|Cowen is not playing as outstanding as he did earlier, but he is still better than average: 6 hits, 4 blocked shots, 3 shots on goal, and a plus-2 rating on the week.|
|Though the team's power play continues to be awful, Gonchar does not: he fired a perfect shot for Kyle Turris to tip in, keeping the Senators in a close game with Montreal.|
|Missed a game as a punishment due to his awful mullet, then put up three points in two games. We're already taking him for granted. "Oh, another multi-point night from Karlsson? No big."|
|Kuba proved he wasn't just riding Karlsson's coattails by leading the Sens blueline against Pittsburgh while the young All-Star was out.|
|... tails you have Brian Lee.|
|No own-goals this week, two assists, and five blocked shots against Montreal. Hard to find fault with him this week, especially considering his previous week.|
|No points this week, but scored the game-winning shootout goal against Montreal. To paraphrase Han Solo: He may not look like much, but he's got it where it counts.|
|See "Biggest losses", then email Paul MacLean and complain even though he's doing a better job coaching than we ever could.|
|Did some great PK work this week, but just kinda chilled on his line as a whole.|
|By our count he hit two posts this week, which is why he's on the fourth line and not a scoring line.|
|Three assists in three games. He seems to be playing well alongside Z. Smith.|
|Four points in three games. The numbers don't lie--Greening created plenty of scoring chances this week.|
|Konopka's ice time this week--9:45, 6:16, and 7:25 against Pittsburgh, New York, and Montreal respectively--is more an indication of the tight games Ottawa was in than any indictment of his play.|
|Three goals in three games. No assists in three games. He'd tell you his job was to score goals, but you wouldn't be able to understand him.|
|A goal and twelve hits. An active Neil makes the third line better.|
|A very quiet week from Ottawa's third line center. He's set the bar high for himself, so we'd like to see a little more in terms of offense.|
|Spezza's five points (4G, 1A) in three games put him at better than a point per game this year. Could have been the biggest gainer if not for Craig Anderson.|
|With a goal and an assist this week, Turris keeps plugging along. He's made the team's second line consistent, which is a huge factor in their winning streak.|
|Unfortunately suffered a setback with his concussion, so he is out for the foreseeable future.|