Oh man, this could be close. Four games remain in the regular season for the Ottawa Senators, and although our odds of making the playoffs are still very high, a four point gap between us and the Tampa Bay Lightning seems way too close for comfort. Even if we finish in the wild card spot, that would most likely place us against the first place Washington Capitals, who have gone 8-1-1 in their last ten games.
Thank goodness the road trip is over, as the Sens lost all five games consecutively for the first time since November/December of 2014. It’s time to break out the down arrows in this week’s Ups and Downs, but first...
Biggest Gains: Kyle Turris
With two goals and three assists in four games, Turris had a point on 56% of the Sens’ goals this week. Also putting up positive possession numbers in what was a weak week for the team, Turris could potentially hit 30 goals for the first time in his career should he keep up his torrid pace (he currently sits at 27 with four games remaining).
Biggest Losses: Guy Boucher
Going against the rules a bit, the recent stretch of losses has had many begin to question The System. The power play continues to lack effort, the penalty kill has been the worst in the league since February 1st, and the deployment has been questionable.
Scratching Dzingel over Kelly yesterday was the most-head scratching move of the year for Boucher, who refuses to sit his prized veteran. You could make the argument that Kelly’s penalty kill ice time would need to be replaced, although it would make perfect sense considering the PK needs a desperate shake-up. Amongst Sens players with minimum 100 minutes on the penalty kill, Kelly ranks last in CA60. Even through Dzingel’s slump, there were no excuses for Boucher on this move.
|Craig Anderson||▼||Although the team has struggled to put up goals, Anderson hasn't been as solid lately, letting by a few softies. His first time with consecutive sub-.900 SV% games since November.|
|Mike Condon||━||Had a chance to stop any of the three goals against the Jets, although he was far from the Sens' biggest problem this week.|
|Mark Borowiecki||━||Had an abysmal game against the Flyers, although he made up for it later in the week by holding his own against tougher competition. Logged 19:36 against Winnipeg, while throwing twenty hits on the week.|
|Cody Ceci||+||From what he did play this week, he picked up three assists while putting up probably his worst underlying numbers of the season. At least he blocked another ten shots, and that assist against Philadelphia was a glimpse of what we've hoped Ceci to be since draft day.|
|Fredrik Claesson||▲||Was one of the Sens' top two leaders in expected goals (Corsica's model) for three of the four games this week. Add another two points and you've earned yourself an up arrow.|
|Ben Harpur||━||Looked adequate yesterday against the Wings, which far surpassed my expectations.|
|Jyrki Jokipakka||━||Seemed invisible, which considering my low expectations of him, is just fine. Logged an average 9:59, the lowest amongst Sens defensemen this week.|
|Erik Karlsson||▲||After scaring Sens fans by missing two games, Karlsson unexpectedly came to Detroit in heroic fashion to put up a goal and assist. The Sens' play in his absence further solidified his case for the Hart Trophy.|
|Marc Methot||+||Out to the end of the regular season.|
|Dion Phaneuf||▼||On the ice for only 34% of scoring chances for, Phaneuf continues to slump along with many. Has a single assist in his last 13 games.|
|Chris Wideman||▼||The possession stats have tempered as the season has progressed, and his scoring has dropped in effect. The February 19th game in Winnipeg seemed to be a turning point, as Wideman has two points in 22 games since then.|
|Derick Brassard||━||On one hand he had a 57% CF% and a 61% FF%, but on the other he's continued to stay off the score sheet. Keep in mind he's rocking a 6.9% SH%, down from 14.8% last year.|
|Alexandre Burrows||━||Got his groove back yesterday after struggling through the rest of the week.|
|Ryan Dzingel||▼||As puzzling as Boucher's move was to scratch him last night, Dzingel can't seem to find the back of the net for the life of him. He makes some of the best zone transitions on the team, but many end up going to nothing.|
|Mike Hoffman||▲||Three more goals for the Hoff, as he was one of few Sens forwards to make a substantial contribution this week.|
|Chris Kelly||▼||Got hemmed in way too often at even strength, and was a big part of the PK unit that allowed four goals on the week.|
|Clarke MacArthur||+||Anagrams to 'A charm track rule'. Get well soon, Clarke!|
|Chris Neil||+||Don't know what to say on Neil, so here's his hit on Johnny Boychuk from 2012. Enjoy responsibly.|
|Jean-Gabriel Pageau||▼||I'm not sure why Boucher has such an obsession with Pageau, but this was arguably his worst week of the season. CF% and FF% both below 40%, while struggling to generate any type of offence.|
|Tom Pyatt||▼||The line of Hoffman-Pageau-Pyatt is as lopsided as it can get. Hoffman's 15 shots were more than twice as many as Pageau and Pyatt combined (five for JGP, two for Pyatt).|
|Bobby Ryan||▼||He had the chances, but he couldn't finish. A bounce or two and this could've turned this into an up arrow. Instead, his point drought extended to a dozen games.|
|Zack Smith||+||Like Methot, Smith is also expected to be out until the end of the regular season.|
|Viktor Stalberg||▼||As much as I've been pleased with his addition to the 4th line, he's looked pretty invisible in the last week, save for his seven shots last night.|
|Mark Stone||▼||An uncharacteristically poor week for Stone, with only five shots on goal, and a -0.82 expected goal differential. At least his two assists were something.|
|Kyle Turris||▲||See biggest gains.|
|Colin White||━||Had a great start to his pro career in Bingo, with a short first game in the NHL. I'm still puzzled by Boucher's decision to play him in the shootout, since the NCAA ends in a tie after overtime, and White went 0/2 at the World Juniors.|
|Tommy Wingels||▼||Wait, was the 4th line even playing this week?|