It was a bit of a weird week in which to assign ups and downs to the players, what with a new coach, a new system to learn and only two games played but I've tried my best below. The two games themselves were encouraging in that Ottawa hung tough with both the Los Angeles Kings and the Boston Bruins, squeaking out a win in the shootout against Boston.
Biggest Gains: Kyle Turris This was a category with a couple of contenders, including the suddenly hot Bobby Ryan, but Turris takes the cake with solid performances in both games this past week. His line, without and without running mate Clarke MacArthur, carried play against both the Kings and the Bruins and Turris picked up a couple of points. If Ottawa is going to make a push for the play-offs this year, they'll need more weeks like this from their top line centre.
Biggest Losses: Chris Phillips. I hate to seem like I'm harping on the guy, but there's no better candidate for this dishonour this week. For the first in over fifteen years, Chris Phillips was scratched from the Ottawa Senators' game day lineup. It was the right decision by Dave Cameron, Phillips' play has not been up to scratch for virtually all of this season, but that doesn't mean it was an easy decision to carry through. Phillips is highly respected within the organization, in the media and across the NHL. For him to fall so far is somewhat remarkable.
|Craig Anderson||Only the one game played, but Anderson was victimized for four goals on 35 shots. After a scorching hot start to the year, Andy's down to a .925 SV%. That's still nothing to sneeze at, but the Sens are 1-4 in his last five starts and he's failed to post a save percentage above .920 in any of them. He just hasn't been that good lately.|
|Robin Lehner||Robin Lehner, on the other hand, was sensational in his only start this week and played a huge role in the Senators walking out of Boston with two points. Cameron is rewarding Lehner with the start on Monday night against Buffalo.|
|Mark Borowiecki||Borowiecki played a couple of solid, if unspectacular games against both L.A and Boston. He fought Lucic if you're into that sort of thing and generally did what you'd expect a third pairing defenseman to do: don't burn the house down while you wait for the good players to come back on.
|Cody Ceci||As with last week, Ceci showed some flashes with the puck but also a lot of trouble covering in the defensive end. Against L.A, Dave Cameron used the Ceci and Cowen pairing to great effect against a variety of L.A forward lines, but without last change Ceci and Cowen were forced to play the majority of their time against Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and the results weren't always pretty.|
|Jared Cowen||Most of the same comments that applied to Cody Ceci above also apply to Jared Cowen but with a couple of caveats: I thought Cowen used his body effectively on more than one occasion against the Bruins and he did rack up the two point against the Kings. He's not fixed but there's no denying he's had more "O.K to good" games this year than last.|
|Eric Gryba||An assist against the Kings and steady, if unspectacular play against the Bruins. Gryba just keeps doing his job.|
|Erik Karlsson||Not that these things are entirely ever one player's fault, but Karlsson was on the ice for a whopping 35 shot attempts against in the Los Angeles game and he was a -3 on the week for those who care about such things. He put together his usual array of spectacular plays but the ledger still reads slightly negative for the week. Oh, and the Ottawa media called him a coach killer. Yikes.|
|Marc Methot||Back to the IR? No one has any idea what's going on there.|
|Chris Phillips||See "Biggest Losses". Again.
|Patrick Wiercioch||Oh just another 61 CF% game from Wiercioch after drawing back in for Phillips. Play. This. Guy. More.|
|Alex Chiasson||Strong underlying numbers but not much else of note for Chiasson. He seems to be permanently demoted to the third line at even strength, but it looks like he's a permanent fixture on the power play.|
|Erik Condra||No points for Condra but he continues to help drive play in the bottom six; something Ottawa desparately needs.
|Colin Greening||Greening made it back into the line-up for both games this week and even saw time on the first line with Turris and Stone owing to MacArthur missing Thursday's game against Los Angeles. He's still Colin Greening but this was a good week for him.|
|Mike Hoffman||A beauty of a play to spring Zibanejad for his goal against Boston but like the rest of the Senators still mostly struggled when the Bergeron line was on the ice. Couple that with a strong game against L.A and that would normally be grounds for the green up arrow but Hoffman's strong play has brought with it heightened expetations; we're starting to get a bit greedy.
|Curtis Lazar||With security blanket Erik Condra flanking him, Lazar and the rest of his line looked a little better than in weeks past. Now that Zack Smith is slated to miss time because of injury there's virtually no way Lazar is going to the World Junior Championships so we're going to find out what the kid is made of.|
|David Legwand||Two more games, two more points for David Legwand. His special teams play has undeniably been a boon, but he's playing very few minutes at even-strength and when he's out there the Sens have been getting killed on the shot clock. Call it a wash.|
|Clarke MacArthur||After a scorching hot start to the year, MacArthur has cooled off considerable in the last two weeks. A lone goal in the four games played is offset somewhat by some strong possession numbers posted by him and his line but something just doesn't seem right.
|Milan Michalek||Missed both games this week.
|Chris Neil||Tweaked his knee taking a hit against the Kings, and now it looks like Senators will be without their tough guy for at least a few weeks|
|Bobby Ryan||Just the one goal against L.A but what a goal! Add that to the incredible move to win the shootout against Boston and his rejuvenated play beside Zibanejad and Hoffman and you've got the makings of a good week for BFR.|
|Z. Smith||The team's "most consistent" player is out for what could be a long time with a wrist injury.|
|Mark Stone||The shorthanded goal against the Kings broke Stone out of a slump, and he seems to have cemented his place on the top line beside MacArthur and Turris.|
|Kyle Turris||See "Biggest Gains"
|Mika Zibanejad||Another beauty of a goal against Boston, a goal in the shootout and Zibanejad is officially en fuego.
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