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Three Stars of the Week: Week 8

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The defence rests, and has been for some time.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Losing three games in a row isn’t fun. Neither is averaging 38.6 shots against per game. Nevertheless, there were some standout performances by a few Ottawa Senators. So with that in mind, here are Week 8’s Three Stars.

Three Stars

  1. Zack Smith - Birdcage and all, Ottawa’s veteran centre is proving that waiving him at the beginning of the season was a mistake. Smith tallied 2G and 2A through three games this week, and his forecheck has looked more like the Zack Smith of old recently. With a +/- of +3 through those three games, in which Ottawa gave up 19 goals, here’s to hoping he keeps this form up even when the cage comes off.
  2. Matt Duchene - Pay. The. Man. Even though Duchene was held pointless against the Minnesota Wild, he tallied a total of 2G and 3A against the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars. In a season where he’s up for a huge payday, Duchene is proving himself to be the upgrade over Kyle Turris that he was initially sold as, and will make this organization look even more ridiculous (if that’s even possible) if they can’t hang on to him. He leads the team in goals, and points, by the way.
  3. Brady Tkachuk - Tkachuk is proving night in and night out that he belongs in the NHL, rather than in London (OHL) or Boston College (NCAA). He has 11 points through his first 12 games as a pro, and chipped in 2G through three games this week. Averaging in the ballpark of 17mins of icetime over the three contests, it’s clear that our beautiful boy has earned the trust of his coaching staff. All of us who hated on this pick on the draft look dumber every day.

Trending Up

  • Chris Tierney is quietly sitting in fourth place on the team for points. Of his 18 in 23 games, 15 are assists, as the young centre is proving himself to be a solid playmaker. It will be interesting to see how his role changes, if at all, when J.G. Pageau returns to the lineup, but as of right now Tierney is proving to be the best asset to come out of the Karlsson trade.
  • Bobby Ryan had three assists against Dallas, and is looking more and more comfortable in the offensive zone. His shot has clearly suffered after a string of finger injuries, but Ryan’s instincts and ability to pass the puck are clearly still there.
  • Craig Anderson deserves to be on this list every week, at least out of respect. He’s on pace to face more shots than any goaltender in NHL history, and I pray every night to God, the Buddha, and Spongebob that he doesn’t get hurt.

Trending Down

  • Tom Pyatt used to be a serviceable fourth-line player on this team. He has been absolutely abysmal this year. Posting an almost impressive statline of 0G, 1A, -11 in 23 games, not even mentioning his possession numbers, it’s clear Pyatt could and should be replaced with a younger player that could benefit from the icetime. But considering Guy Boucher put him on the top line yesterday, who knows how likely that is.
  • Mark Borowiecki continued his trend of seeing less of the ice, and aside from tallying an assist against the Panthers, he’s looked pretty brutal all season.

Who to Watch

Keep an eye on Mark Stone going into this week. He’s gone back to back games without a point now, and with the passion he so evidently carries, he’s going to be hungry for some production.