It was another week of mostly very good results that were marred by a loss to the Leafs in Toronto. The Senators prevailed in three of their four contests this week, including victories against the Detroit Red Wings, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Washington Capitals. The Maple Leafs were supposed to be the gimme game, even in spite of the fact that the Sens were playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Sadly, things rarely work out as we want them to when it comes to our neighbours down the 401. Still, the broader point remains: it was a very good week for the team and they have a fighting chance to reach the play-offs with one week remaining. Hold onto your butts, we're coming in hot.
Biggest gains: Mark Stone
Six points, a +3 if you care about such things, and the shootout winner against Detroit are the visible counting stats. He also combined with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur to form by far and away the team's best line all week. Mark Stone was the team's best player these past four games, and it wasn't even especially close. Then you pause to remember that he's only 22, and it's all gravy.
Biggest losses: Craig Anderson
Outside of a few exceptional performances, most players played to expectations this week so the title falls to the goalie who didn't play at all this week. Dave Cameron's decided to ride Andrew Hammond come hell or high water, even to the point of not getting Anderson into the second game of a back-to-back when all the data suggests he should have given Hammond a rest against the Leafs. Ottawa doesn't play any more back-to-backs in their last three games so we might have seen the last of Andy for this season (or maybe even ever as an Ottawa Senator, but that's a column for a different time)
See: Biggest Losses
|Andrew Hammond||Another good week for Hammond; he was one of the only reasons the Senators were still in the game after the first period against Toronto|
|Robin Lehner||Still Hurt
||Relegated to third goalie status with both Hammond and Anderson healthy.|
|Mark Borowiecki||Boro and Gryba both struggled quite a bit this week, especially against the team speed of the Tampa Bay Lightning and at times against the Maple Leafs.
|Cody Ceci||No points, but rock steady play from the Wiercioch-Ceci duo contributed to Ceci leading all Senators this week w/ a sparkling 59.29 CF%.|
|Jared Cowen||Back to the pressbox for Cowen who never saw the ice this week.|
|Eric Gryba||An assist for Gryba in the Capitals game was one of his only postives this week; Gryba, like Borowiecki, struggled badly to move the puck against speedy forwards.|
|Erik Karlsson||Four points for Karlsson and sparkling possession numbers, yet again, but he struggled to contain Ovechkin and co. vs the Caps and had his ups and downs against Tampa Bay as well. From Karlsson, we can expect better.|
|Marc Methot||He did a lot of Marc Methot-like things this week. That's good enough for an up arrow.
|Patrick Wiercioch||Wiercioch rebounded from his healthy scratch against the Panthers with a great week of hockey capped by his game winning goal against Tampa Bay.
|Alex Chiasson||It says here that Alex Chiasson is not the answer to whatever problems exist on the Zibanejad line, but he did have a good week by his own standards.|
|Erik Condra||No points, some struggles for the Pageau line in general combine with a couple of dumb penalties to give Condra the down arrow this week.|
|Colin Greening||As long as everyone's healthy, it's hard to see Greening getting back into the line-up.
|Mike Hoffman||If you were to take all of his perceived defensive shortcomings at face value, it'd be awfully hard to explain how Hoffman continues to drive possession on every line he ends up on. I can't give him an up arrow in good conscience when he's been relegated to the fourth line, but he played well this week.
|Curtis Lazar||No points this week for Lazar, but he's continued his strong play on the forecheck and away from the puck.
|David Legwand||A wholly unremarkable week for Legs.|
|Clarke MacArthur||Every game back he looks more and more comfortable. His behind the back, backhand pass to spring Stone for one of his goals against Washington was a great reminder of the skillset he brings to Ottawa's top six.
|Milan Michalek||No timelines set yet for Michalek's return.
|Chris Neil||It's starting to sound like Neil's ready to play; will the coach insert him in the line-up?
|His line struggled a bit this week relative to their usual level. Pageau couldn't quite seem to shake free all week and he got a bit of a scare when Steven Stamkos caught him in a knee-on-knee collision. Fortunately, he seems to have suffered no ill effects from the hit.
|Matt Puempel||Gone for the year.
|Bobby Ryan||Just the one assist for Bobby Ryan this week, who's now in a bonafide slump. He looked like he was trying to do a lot against the Leafs in particular, but it just hasn't been working for him for a while now.
|Zack Smith||Dave Cameron brought Zack Smith onto the Zibanejad line for much of this week and asked him to skate in "straight lines". Smith did as he was asked (though the effectiveness of what he was doing is up for debate)
|Mark Stone||See: Biggest Gains
|Kyle Turris||A marvelous week for Turris and his whole line. The possession numbers were weaker than normal, but it's hard to argue with five points in four games and an overtime game-winner.|
|Mika Zibanejad||Two points in four games for Zibanejad, who looked good-to-great at times but his line also went through long bouts of ineffectiveness.
Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japers' Rink for our icons!