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Five Thoughts For Friday

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Come for the puns, stay for the Sens.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What to say about this week in SensLand?

It was definitely a week, that’s for sure. Seven whole days.

Ottawa saw their losing streak stretched to eight games, following narrow weekend losses to the Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes, but were able to get back in the win column with a 2-1 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks. The Sens even managed to stretch it to two (2!) in a row, with a Thursday night victory over the Los Angeles Kings by a final score of 4-1.

With all that said, and what’s sure to be an interesting week ahead, here are Five Thoughts for Friday, January 11th, 2018.

White the Week

This week was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for Colin White.

He potted his first-career overtime goal to end Ottawa’s losing skid against the Ducks. It was a gorgeous setup by Mark Stone, as White showed great instincts in angling to the post, and was able to chip the game-winner past John Gibson.

Unfortunately, the OT marker wasn’t indicative of more good fortune to come White’s way. He was crushed against the boards by Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin in the first period of Thursday’s game, and left the contest with a shoulder injury.

The 21 year-old did not return, And is expected to miss at least two weeks. White is having a breakout campaign, and it’s a shame for him to have to miss an extended period of time.

Ryan High

We, as Sens fans, have an interesting relationship with Bobby Ryan.

At a cap hit of $7.25M a year, it would be nice to see just a liiiiiiiittle more production from #9.

But he hasn’t disappointed of late, Ryan’s been on fire. He’s currently in the midst of a six-game point streak, and has goals in back-to-back games. On top of that, his markers came at critical points, tying the game against both Anaheim and Los Angeles, sparking the Ottawa offence en route to consecutive victories.

An offensive outburst from Ryan couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Senators struggling and two of their top scorers shelved until next week, they need all the help they can get. Hopefully Ryan can make it seven in a row at the Shark Tank.

Nilssons of Anarchy

When the Senators acquired Anders Nilsson from the Vancouver Canucks just nine days ago, it was tough to figure out what to expect.

Nilsson has been solid over his career, but hadn’t won since October 16th.

It’s safe to say the trade is working in Ottawa’s favour.

Nilsson looked like a world-beater this week, as he faced a ton of shots, and was able to come away with two wins in four appearances for his trouble. His lateral movement looked explosive, and he looked more and more confident in the Senators net as the week went on.

Though he notched his first win as an Ottawa Senator against the Ducks, the highlight of Nilsson’s week was this sensational stop on Justin Williams, Sunday afternoon.

Expect Anders Nilsson to be Craig Anderson’s partner upon his return, with Marcus Hogberg likely returning to Belleville to share the crease with a struggling Filip Gustavsson.

Build the Wall-anin

If you follow me on Twitter, @BrandonMaki6 (no, I have no shame), you might remember that for once, I agreed with head coach Guy Boucher. I mentioned that bringing size and physicality to play in California isn’t the worst idea, and that there could be something to gain from a physical presence.

So close, yet so far.

In order to attain said physical presence, Coach Boucher elected to remove Christian Wolanin, in the midst of a three-game point streak, from the lineup in favour of Ben Harpur.

Harpur didn’t look good against the Ducks, and ended up getting injured, forcing Boucher to reinstate Wolanin for the game against Los Angeles.

You can probably guess how this ends.

Wolanin scored the go-ahead goal against the Kings, and extended his point streak to four games. He’s clearly Ottawa’s third-best defenceman at the moment, and there’s absolutely no reason for him to be a healthy scratch going forward.

California King

Yes, we have to talk about this again.

Erik Karlsson’s return to Ottawa was less than ceremonious for the former captain. The Senators put on a clinic, shelling Martin Jones and downing the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Karlsson led his team with nine shots on goal, but ultimately finished the game pointless and -2.

The Ottawa Senators are going to play a very different Sharks team on Saturday. They look much calmer, and the speed in their transition game is night and day from the team that looked poised for an epic collapse just a month ago.

Since their loss to the Sens on December 1st, San Jose has gone 15-4-1, and have won five straight games. This tremendous stretch of hockey has rocketed them to second place in the West, just one point behind Calgary for first.

Oh, and Erik Karlsson is playing pretty well too.

Though his marvellous streak was ended last night in a 3-2 win over Vegas, Karlsson has done what we all knew he would: Gotten comfortable and caught fire.

With no Duchene, Anderson, or Chabot, it’s going to take a spectacular performance (and probably a bit of luck) to end the Sharks’ winning streak on Saturday night.

Can’t wait to watch that one.