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Three Stars for Week 6: Nilsson, Pageau, Tkachuk

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Ottawa won three out of four games?!

NHL: FEB 07 Ducks at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Senators exacted revenge against the Rangers last Monday before running into a red-hot Islanders team to go .500 in New York. Ottawa subsequently treated their home fans (no attendance jokes please) to an overtime victory against the Kings on Thursday night and withstood a barrage from the Hurricanes on Saturday for those ever-elusive consecutive victories. Although we had a lot more names to work with for the three stars this week, no one shows up on this list who hasn’t already this season.

Three Stars:

First Star: Anders Nilsson

It makes my job infinitely easier when a Senator has a week significant not only in Ottawa but across the league. Per Natural Stat Trick, Anders Nilsson led the NHL last week in goals-saved-above-average at five-on-five, and had the second highest save percentage at five-on-five among goalies who played more than one game (Thomas Greiss of the Islanders went a perfect 52/52). The two goals that Nilsson did surrender this week at five-on-five qualified as High Danger Scoring Chances. The Senators named him performer of the game in the victories over Los Angeles and Carolina. Enjoy this sweet glove save:

Second Star: Jean-Gabriel Pageau

Do you like league-leaders? Good! Because I have another one for you. The prodigal son led the league in goals this week with five including the OTGWG against the Kings and a shorthanded goal against the Islanders. He scored in all four games the Senators played. He had the most pronounced defensive deployment of any Senator this week and still finished above 50% in fenwick-for. He does it all. He kills penalties, he wins faceoffs, and he stays out of the box. Take this time to relive JGP embarrassing Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Drew Doughty:

Third Star: Brady Tkachuk

In all fairness, I could have also selected Vladislav Namestnikov who I had listed as trending down last week. Both players put up two goals and two assists, and individual expected goals-for above two. Brady, however, led the team in shot attempts, scoring chances, rebounds created, and he drew EIGHT penalties (in FOUR games). Tkachuk faired less admirably on the defensive side of the puck in terms of five-on-five shot attempt volume. He stayed well over 50% in five-on-five expected goals-for percentage though as he continues to live in the opposition’s crease. What else can I say about Brady? He belongs on this list almost every week. Brady forever indeed:

Trending up: Thomas Chabot

It felt really weird looking at the numbers after each Sens game and seeing Chabot at the bottom of the page when sorting by shot metrics. So you can only imagine my relief in telling you that Chabot stayed over 50% in corsi-, fenwick-, and expected goals-for at five-on-five this week. He continues to lead the team in ice time, and he led the defence in shots, shot attempts, and scoring chances this week. His performance this week somewhat assuaged my worries about Nikita Zaitsev dragging down our star defender. Chabot only had one point this week in the form of a powerplay assist. Yes, the Ottawa Senators scored on the powerplay. I have the evidence:

Trending down: Connor Brown

I only chose Brown because I like words that rhyme. Also I had him as one of my three stars last week and he regressed after that. He had pretty weak numbers at five-on-five even considering his defensive deployment and he netted one point (also a powerplay assist) with just five shots through the four games played. Inevitably all players have hot and cold weeks in this league. I wouldn’t sweat this one too much considering how much lineup fluctuation we will see over the course of a full season, and Brown will get plenty of looks with Ottawa’s top forwards.

Who to Watch: The Fourth Line

Jonathan Davidsson and Filip Chlapik looked especially dangerous this week although I wouldn’t sleep on J.C. Beaudin after the game he had on Saturday. These guys only see a little bit of ice time and almost all of it occurs at even strength. They make the most of their opportunities though. Chlapik had himself a week with two points in three games (just 21 total minutes). And the trio reminded us that speed kills with a beautiful goal on Saturday night. Despite Chlapik’s two penalties, I find these forwards look really composed and confident beyond their years and they’ve done everything right as mid-round picks trying to find a home in the big league.

Infirmary

Artem Anisimov: Placed on the IR

Rudolfs Balcers: Has returned to the practice ice

Logan Brown: Could play Wednesday

Andreas Englund: Missed Belleville’s game on Saturday

Scott Sabourin: On the road to recovery

Christian Wolanin: No update