It feels like it's been several weeks now where we've opened Ups and Downs with some variant of the following: "This was a make or break week for the Ottawa Senators, they needed to gather as many points as possible to stay in the play-off race. Unfortunately, they got mediocre results and are falling further behind". Sadly, this week was no different; the team went 1-2. What was different about this week is that Ottawa played very well in all three games and deserved a better fate than their record.
Who stood out?
Biggest Gains: Mark Stone My affinity for Mark Stone is a well-known quantity around these parts, but I honestly feel he had a great week. He contributed four points from a goal and three assists, solid possession numbers, and was one of the best players on the ice against Carolina on Saturday. When push came to shove and the team was chasing a goal late, Dave Cameron even returned him to the top line alongside Turris and MacArthur.
Biggest Losses: Robin Lehner Truthfully, it's been a rough year for Lehner more than just a tough week. He's all the way down to a .900 SV% in all situations after giving up 5 on 29 shots against Dallas. Lehner hasn't broken .900 in any of his last four starts. If Dave Cameron is serious about making a push for the play-offs this year, it's hard to see Lehner getting back in again any time soon.
|Craig Anderson||A strong performance against Montreal, a mediocre performance against Carolina. Andy was solidly neutral this week
|Robin Lehner||See: Biggest Losses|
|Mark Borowiecki||Still on IR, though he did skate this week. Boro's ahead of schedule but probably at the very least a week or two from returning.|
|Cody Ceci||A better week for Ceci, as he posted a goal and some great possession numbers in two of the three games this past week. I thought he was particularly effective against Carolina on Saturday. It's those types of games that give the team hope for the future.|
|Jared Cowen||Better than last week, and that's always a positive. He's still struggling with speedier players in space but he did show some strong offensive instincts to cash in a rebound against Dallas.|
|Eric Gryba||Gryba had some struggles again this week, particularly defensively against Dallas. His pairing with Patrick Wiercioch didn't look good against Carolina, either.|
|Erik Karlsson||He had just the one goal, but Erik Karlsson looked fantastic in all three games this week. His performance against Carolina was vintage; he was on the ice for a whopping 17 (!!) scoring chances for and was horrendously unlucky not to score at least a goal. Reuniting with Marc Methot seems to have done him a world of good.|
|Marc Methot||He's helped to stabilize Karlsson's play, and that's all we've ever asked of him.|
|Chris Phillips||Phillips was bad against Dallas, and then he was scratched for both the Montreal and the Carolina games. Some notable Ottawa media have been wondering how Dave Cameron could so greatly "disrespect" the alternate captain, but Phillips just doesn't deserve to play right now.
|Patrick Wiercioch||Not a good week for Wiercioch, as he was scratched against Dallas and then turned in a mediocre performance against Carolina. He's still a better option than Phillips but his pairing with Gryba didn't look good.|
|Alex Chiasson||Chiasson broke an eleven game pointless streak with an assist against Dallas but that's about all he contributed this week. He's still seeing time on the top unit with Turris and MacArthur, but at this rate it's only a matter of time before he returns to the bottom six.|
|Erik Condra||Two points, very good possession numbers, and his usual stellar penalty killing; that's deserving of an up arrow for Condra. To think that he was a healthy scratch for so many games to start the year.
|Colin Greening||Scratched in all three games this week, Greening was a candidate for Biggest Losses. I'm not sure I see how he makes it back into the line-up.
|Mike Hoffman||Goal and an assist for Hoffman this week, who's up to 15 on the year now. He's helping to drive play on the second line and the broadcast team on Saturday were openly wondering why he's not getting time on the power play. Yep, it's been a good year for the Hoff.|
|Curtis Lazar||No points for Lazar, but to my eyes he played some of his best hockey to-date this past week. He's not generating a ton of offensive chances for himself, but he's winning puck battles and making skilled plays on the breakout. For a 19 year old, that's not half bad.|
|David Legwand||Legwand's ice-time continues to dwindle, but he did manage three points this week. He still skates like he's riding a horse.|
|Clarke MacArthur||Just the one goal for Mac, and middling possession numbers for the top line.
|Milan Michalek||A great week for Michalek who's looked energized skating beside Stone and Pageau.
|Chris Neil||Still injured.|
|Finally broke his goalless drought to start the year against, who else, Montreal. Alongside Stone and the suddenly rejuvenated Michalek, Pageau has led a formidable third line.
|Bobby Ryan||Three assists in four games, solid possession for his line, and he absolutely buried Alex Galchenyuk on Thursday. Good week for the All-Star.|
|Z. Smith||Out indefinitely with a wrist injury.|
|Mark Stone||See: Biggest Gains.|
|Kyle Turris||No points for Turris this week and he just hasn't looked quite right. The top line has, surprise, surprise, struggled since Cameron swapped Stone out for Chiasson.|
|Mika Zibanejad||Just the one goal this week for Zibby, but his line was Ottawa's best this week and he played a large role in that.
Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japers' Rink for our icons!