Put another fantastic week in the books for the Senators, sweeping a three game road trip by a combined score of 12-6. Although the competition wasn’t very difficult (all three opponents far out of the playoff race), the Sens have now stretched their win streak to six games, at one point briefly taking over first in the Atlantic division.
Now in the final stretch of the season, the competition will only get more challenging. Three of the next seven games are against the division-leading Canadiens, with the Blackhawks, Penguins and Wild also in the remaining March schedule. After the next three games, Ottawa will have only three more home games remaining, with the nine others being on the road.
With less than a month left until playoffs begin, Ottawa’s been looking strong, ranking as high as second on league power rankings. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into the playoffs and give us a shot at, dare I say it, the Stanley Cup.
Biggest Gains: Fredrik Claesson
As breathtaking as Erik Karlsson’s been this past week, there’s another Swede in town who’s also been playing phenomenal hockey. We couldn’t have asked for a better week for Steady Freddy, netting his first two NHL goals and adding another two assists, all while averaging the least time one ice amongst Sens defensemen. Not only that, but he led the Sens with nine hits on the week, showing his physical side while staying out of the box.
There’s no clear deficiency when analyzing Claesson’s game. He’s not terribly slow, he makes clean passes, he has a rocket of a shot (he broke the Sens’ hardest shot record at the December skills competition), and he stays defensively responsible. It’s hard to believe he was getting benched for chunks of the season, although with Borowiecki out injured, Freddy’s made the most of his opportunity.
Biggest Losses: Tom Pyatt
After being pegged early on as the Sens’ clear weak link on possession, his scoring numbers of late seem to be reflecting that. He’s had three assists in 19 games since the start of February, with his last goal dating back to January 12th. Sure, his shooting percentage has been really low, and it’s not like he’s been devoid of taking shots. But he’s been constantly getting pummelled with shot attempts at 5v5, which hasn’t been cutting it for Ottawa’s top nine.
|Craig Anderson||▲||Kept the Dallas offence to two goals, and barely had to play facing 16 shots against Colorado. Continues to hold down the fort.|
|Mike Condon||▲||Made 39 saves against the Coyotes. It feels great to have a reliable goalie as our backup.|
|Mark Borowiecki||+||Out with an undiclosed injury, with no word on return date. Even then, it appears he's been cleanly passed on the depth chart.|
|Cody Ceci||━||Managed to get on the scoreboard this week, with a goal and assist against Dallas (his first goal of 2017).|
|Fredrik Claesson||▲||See biggest gains.|
|Jyrki Jokipakka||━||Has yet to make his Sens debut. May not be for awhile barring injuries.|
|Erik Karlsson||▲||This is the Karlsson we were missing in the first half. He was one of four Senators to get four points on the road trip, and took the team lead in possession (16.91 Rel. CF%).|
|Marc Methot||━||I'm honestly not sure what to make of Methot anymore. Would Karlsson play any different with somebody else?|
|Dion Phaneuf||━||A bit of a quiet week for Phaneuf. He tied for the team lead with seven blocks, although he only took two shots on goal compared to seven the week prior.|
|Chris Wideman||▼||Has been on a bit of a scoring drought, with just a single assist in his last eleven games. Rel. CF% of -5.22 on the week.|
|Derick Brassard||━||Brassard, Burrows and Stone were three of Ottawa's four worst possession players of the week. Hard to tell who's to blame.|
|Alexandre Burrows||━||Keeps on scoring, keeps on making Pierre Dorion look like a folk hero. The Brassard comment also applies, although it's odd to see two of the league's best drivers of play start to struggle once paired with Burrows.|
|Chris DiDomenico||━||Three minor penalties and a -14.53 Rel. CF%, although he gets a pass for this week. He's adjusting to the system and the high level of play, and he showed some small flashes of offence.|
|Ryan Dzingel||━||Although he hasn't been scoring much as of late, Dzingel managed to find the back of the net once. His ice time has also taken a drop, being played an average 13:39 on the road trip.|
|Mike Hoffman||▲||With Stone and Turris out, Hoffman continues to be an offensive force while being placed alongside Pageau and Pyatt. While spreading out the talent may look odd on paper, it hasn't slowed Hoffman one bit.|
|Chris Kelly||━||It's looking less and less likely that Colin White will get to play, making Kelly's spot on the fourth line more secure.|
|Clarke MacArthur||+||Anagrams to "Hurt caramel rack". On a serious note, a recent article from Bruce Garrioch says that MacArthur is still looking to come back for next season, after being inches from retirement.|
|Chris Neil||+||Out with a finger injury, still weeks from returining. Retirement a la Chris Phillips is looking more and more likely.|
|Jean-Gabriel Pageau||▲||Although this week's opponents weren't the most skilled, Pageau hasn't floundered when paired against other teams' top lines. Had a fantastic week offensively, being Ottawa's only forward with multiple goals.|
|Tom Pyatt||▼||See biggest losses.|
|Bobby Ryan||+||Still out with a broken finger. Hopefully he heals soon and can help the Sens in their quest for the Cup.|
|Zack Smith||━||Has lost a bit of his offensive touch since being moved back to centre.|
|Viktor Stalberg||▲||His possession has cooled down since week one with Ottawa, although that didn't stop him from scoring, adding two points while burning opponents with his speed.|
|Mark Stone||+||Week to week with an undiclosed lower body injury. Had an MRI yesterday, so let's hope for a speedy recovery.|
|Kyle Turris||+||Again with the finger injuries! He's expected to be back tonight against Tampa Bay, which can allow Smith to move back to left wing.|
|Phil Varone||━||Can't make a judgement off of five minutes of play. Reassigned to Binghamton.|
|Tommy Wingels||━||He's definitely not the 30-point player he used to be in San Jose, but he's definitely been an upgrade over some players we were icing earlier in the season.|