This past week was a bit of a strange one for Ottawa Senators fans: the team played three games but there was a four day gap between Monday night's tilt with the Buffalo Sabres and the back-to-back games with the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning on the weekend. Though the outcome of the game against the Bolts will leave a sour taste in everyone's mouth, a 2-1 record on the week is a positive. Playing Tampa Bay on the second night of a back-to-back when the Lightning were rested was always going to be trouble; securing the win in Boston made this week a success.
Who played a big part in that success you might ask? Well, one player in particular stood out:
Biggest Gains: Bobby Ryan. Though he was held pointless in the last game of the week against Tampa Bay, Ryan posted four goals and an assist in the other two games to run away with the Biggest Gains crown. It's seemed like he's been playing with a spring in his step of late, and it doesn't hurt that he's developed some serious chemistry with Hoffman and Zibanejad. If Ryan's going to live up to the big extension he signed, we'll need to see more of this.
Biggest Losses: Alex Chiasson. This is somewhat unfair to Chiasson as his position here represents more a culmination of poor play than anything very specific in the last three games. I'll summarize it like this: in a game in which the Senators held a +40 (!!) Corsi advantage against the Sabres, the team was somehow -1 in that department with Chiasson on the ice. You should always take individual player Corsi ratings with a grain of salt, but at this point it's pretty clear that Chiasson doesn't especially drive play. This means his value is pretty well exclusively tied to his scoring, and he's now gone eight games without a point. He's struggling.
|Craig Anderson||Anderson was solid in both games he started this week, posting a .918 SV%.|
|Robin Lehner||Hard to fault Lehner on any of the Tampa Bay goals, but he did allow 4 on 30 shots. Can't really do much but give him the dreaded down arrow.|
|Mark Borowiecki||What sounds like an absolutely gruesome injury has Boro on the IR. Here's to hoping he's able to return to full health.|
|Cody Ceci||He's struggling out there. His pairing with Cowen either needs to be broken up or they need to start seeing more sheltered ice. It's been no good.|
|Jared Cowen||He redeemed himself slightly from his poor play of the week before so he gets the neutral, but Cowen continues to struggle against top competition. Every once in a while, he flashes good vision with the puck or wins a battle along the boards and I hope a little. Lately though, there's been too few flashes, too far between bouts of poor play.|
|Eric Gryba||Was overrun by the speed of the Tampa Bay Lightning, so much so that I have no choice but to award a down arrow. He was fine if unspectacular in the other two games, even notching an assist against Boston.|
|Erik Karlsson||Some moments of brilliance this week from Karlsson, including the one-touch, slap pass to Bobby Ryan for the game winner against Boston. He was also one of the few defensemen who looked like he could handle Tampa's attack. Good week for the captain.|
|Marc Methot||Made it to Binghamton for a conditioning assignment, so maybe he is close to returning? Please?|
|Chris Phillips||It's been a rough year for Phillips, but he was not terrible this week; that's good enough for an up arrow in my books given the low bar.|
|Patrick Wiercioch||Like virtually everyone else, Wiercioch had a tough time against the Bolts. He was solid in the other two wins. Until Methot comes back, he's the defacto best LD on the team.|
|Alex Chiasson||See: Biggest Losses.|
|Erik Condra||A so-so week for Condra with the one assist against Buffalo but a poor showing against Tampa Bay.
|Colin Greening||You gotta feel for the guy: his own coach was poking fun at him for his "automatic goal" against Buffalo on Monday. But you know what? It was his first of the season and he deserves this one.
|Mike Hoffman||Still not seeing much power play time for mysterious reasons, but with two more points in three games to go along with some dazzling rushes he's deserving of another up arrow.|
|Curtis Lazar||Lazar goes for gold Monday night!|
|David Legwand||No points for Legwand again, he's now pointless in five straight games, but his line was surprisingly effective against Boston and held its own against Buffalo before getting caved in versus Tampa Bay.|
|Clarke MacArthur||Add in a goal against Buffalo to his two beautiful feeds to Turris and you have a three point week for Mac. After some doldrums, he's on a four game point scoring streak.
|Milan Michalek||Unremarkable at 5v5 this week, Michalek was solid on the P.K to my eyes. He's not generating much offense, but he's helping out defensively where he can.
|Chris Neil||Neil practiced with the team on Sunday but he indicated he didn't intend to travel for the upcoming road trip. He's probably still at least a week or two away from returning.|
|Pageau had been quietly effective despite a steady diet of defensive zone starts and lackluster wingers until Sunday against Tampa Bay when his line was torched. The fault doesn't lie with Pageau alone but several times he had the puck on his stick in the defensive end and was unable to make a clean exit.
|Bobby Ryan||See: Biggest Gains|
|Z. Smith||No news here, still out indefinitely with a wrist injury.|
|Mark Stone||Two more points this week, and Stone continues to play an integral role on the first line. Hoffman's been the rookie getting most of the press recently, but Stone's been almost as good.|
|Kyle Turris||Four points in three games to go along with strong play in all three games made Turris a contender for Biggest Gains this week.
|Mika Zibanejad||Just the one assist against Buffalo, but Zibanejad had a strong week. The Senators have a strong top two lines, and that's in no small part thanks to Zibby.
Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japers' Rink for our icons!