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Three Stars of the Week: Week 19

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The offence was firing on all cylinders.

Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Feels like it’s been a while since the Sens have had a winning week. Their two wins and single loss this week give them a 4-2-0 record in February, comfortably sitting ahead of Buffalo and Arizona for the league’s third worst position.

Three Stars

1. Add four more points to Matt Duchene’s total for the season, as he’s been picking back up some pace as of late. He appears to be using his blistering speed much more frequently, which we saw especially against the New Jersey Devils. Thumbs up for a great week.

2. Last week’s three stars had the first two spots going to Hoffman and Duchene, and they deservedly reclaim the throne. Mike Hoffman scored twice again this week, including another game-winning goal in overtime against Nashville, for the 100th of his career. His chemistry on the top line has become evident over the last month (instead of toiling next to Pageau and Pyatt), which has rightfully softened Dorion’s stance on shopping him to other teams.

3. Ryan Dzingel had at least a point in all three games this week, picking up three assists (two of which were on goals by DiDomenico) and a late meaningless goal against the Leafs. He surpassed his previous career high in goals, and while his shooting talent is almost certainly not good enough to stay at 16.9%, he’s become one of Ottawa’s more dangerous offensive weapons.

Trending Up

  • Aside from Dzingel, Thomas Chabot was the only other Senator with a point in all three games. His 13 points are tied with Cody Ceci, and quickly catching up to Dion Phaneuf for second in defence scoring.
  • Chris DiDomenico picked up another two goals. For a player that was essentially forced into the lineup because of injuries, he’s done everything and more to show he deserves to be in the NHL.
  • I was taken aback when I saw the stat, but apparently the Sens’ leader in shots on goal this week belongs to Magnus Paajarvi. I didn’t notice him a whole lot on the ice, although he sent five on net against both New Jersey and Nashville for a dozen in this week’s three contests.

Trending Down

  • As much as the offence boosters were on, the defence was still not functioning at a sub-par level, allowing an average of 37 shots per game. The usual suspect of the Phaneuf-Ceci pairing took the brunt of this force, although Fredrik Claesson and Johnny Oduya also had strongly negative Corsi differentials.
  • The NHL Department of Player Safety cracked down hard on Alex Burrows, and rightfully so, with his ten game suspension keeping him out of the lineup until the final game of the month.
  • The Sens’ front office has been a quiet disaster for years now, although there always seems to be a new low. Tom Anselmi leaving this week was hardly surprising, yet will be a huge blow as we await the team’s next victim president.

Who to Watch

  • Mark Stone and Derick Brassard both looked 100% recovered in their first game back from injury. Hopefully this continues, as their presence felt lost in the last couple weeks in spite of the string of wins.
  • Melnyk’s statement from the press release for the Dorion extension can be interpreted in a couple ways, although the widely held belief is that it’s signalling some big cost-cutting moves on the horizon, primarily in terms of player salaries. Combine that with Dorion’s fearlessness to pull the trade trigger, and the Sens could be looking like a very different team post-trade deadline.