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Three Stars of the Week: Week 2

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The rookies had another strong showing

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

This week continued the trend of last week, with the Senators playing in some high-scoring games. 6-3 and 7-4 losses to the Bruins and Flyers respectively were somewhat salvaged with a 5-1 win over the Kings, though the Sens lost Cody Ceci, Ryan Dzingel, and Alex Formenton to injuries after Wednesday’s game. Worryingly, Formenton has a concussion, and we’ve seen with players like Jarrod Maidens how much concussions can derail an entire career. But let’s start with some positives!

Three stars

  1. Brady Tkachuk - This guy was on fire this week. Getting his first NHL goal in his second NHL game wasn’t enough, so he had to score another goal, and get an assist. Then he had two more assists against the Kings as well as a number of dangerous chances. He plays like a wrecking ball and I love it. He’s now been on the ice for each of the Sens’ last seven goals, without being on the ice for a single goal against.
  2. Thomas Chabot - He followed up last week’s performance as the team’s best defenceman with another solid performance. He has at least one point in each of the team’s games this season, and has cleared 20 minutes in every game except the seven-defenceman game on Saturday. If Ceci is out longer term, look for Chabot to start getting heavy looks in all situations.
  3. Chris Tierney - The only other player to have a point in every Sens game so far this season, this guy earns the third star nod partly for greatly exceeding expectations. He came in earmarked as a fourth-line centre who might be forced up the lineup on a Sens team hard-pressed for centres. Instead he’s been looking like a guy with a nose for the net, including a three-assist performance against the Flyers. He’s getting about 1.5 minutes per game on the PK and 2 minutes on the PP, so Boucher is starting to see what he can do in all situations.

Trending up

  • Chris Wideman had his first two goals in 12 months in Saturday’s game. Might’ve been third star, but it’s hard to give it to a guy who only played 8 minutes in that game. It’s weird because he was scoring and had been averaging around 17 in every game before it, but for some reason the insertion of Ben Harpur meant Wideman was no longer allowed to play
  • Maxime Lajoie got four more points this week, and looks like a mainstay on the roster for the time being. This guy is very exciting. Three goals ties him for the lead league among defencemen.
  • Dylan DeMelo also got three points and continues to look like a steady partner. Offensively, this team’s defencemen are great. Defensively, they may leave something to be desired, but at least a bunch of them keep showing up in the positives section!
  • Craig Anderson looked really good against the Kings, after a game against the Flyers in which he made some spectacular saves and let in some softies (and wandered from his net too much).

Trending down

  • The Sens are allowing 38.4 shots against per game, which is ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes. Their shot differential per game is -11.0, ahead of only the Coyotes and the Ducks. Despite the move towards being faster and more mobile, it looks like #TheSystem may still require some goaltending wizardry.
  • The Sens allowing the fewest goals against once Ceci is out may show that he’s not actually that great as a shutdown guy. Maybe. Jury’s still out.
  • Matt Duchene still got two assists this week, but he looked really, really frustrated on Saturday about not having his first goal of the year yet.

Who to watch

It’s kind of an empty week, so I’d say look for Ryan Dzingel to make an impact when he (presumably) makes his big return on Saturday.