Ups and Downs was kind of turning into a stale feature last season, so we thought we’d replace it with something new this year. Check it out, and let us know what you think in the comments!
It wasn’t the greatest week, but you have to remind yourself that Erik Karlsson’s still hurt. A pair of shootout losses in which the Senators had every chance to win is probably about what would’ve been reasonable to ask for this week.
Three Stars of the Week
1 — Mark Stone
This could’ve really gone either way in the top two, but Stone is a better player than Derick Brassard when he’s on his game. Stone was this week, making plays, taking great shots, and taking the puck away from the opposition whenever he got the chance. He also scored two goals against the Capitals. A monstrous week by a player the Sens desperately needed to be healthy in last year’s playoffs.
2 — Derick Brassard
Three points in Game 1, and he deserved each one of them. Safe to say he’s healthy, which is huge news for the Sens this early in the season.
3 — Dion Phaneuf
This is probably a controversial choice, but hear me out. Phaneuf is being asked to play 25 minutes per night, which isn’t what he should be doing at this point in his career. With Karlsson hurt, he’s being asked to be a big part of the leadership for this team. He hasn’t been defensively incredible or anything, but he’s been as sound as I’d hoped. His offensive zone play has been better than I remembered. His play to set up the tying goal against the Red Wings reminded me of Karlsson - he stepped up to intercept a pass at the blue line, found the lane, and put the puck in the net with a ridiculous shot. To me, he’s the team’s third star this week.
Nate Thompson — This may just be confirmation bias, but I was pretty disappointed with his play this week. I was looking forward to Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s season, but it’s hard to see him do much of anything with this guy on his wing. Mostly I think Thompson’s just been miscast as a checker. Watching him fall apart against the Alex Ovechkin line on Thursday wasn’t the best. I’m hoping Boucher realizes that though he may like Thompson, he probably isn’t the best bet against the opposition’s top players. I’m not gonna say this signing was a bust or anything, just that I’d rather see him play against similar competition.
Who to watch for this week
Craig Anderson — This is completely subjective, but I think Andy looked great on Saturday after looking more than a little rough on Thursday. With the early season jitters out of the way, I’m expecting big things this week. Sure, the Oilers and Flames will bring the firepower, but I think he’ll be confident and bring his A-game.