After starting the week by being on the wrong end of an 8-2 beating, courtesy of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Ottawa Senators answered back with three solid performances. At week’s end, they were 2-2, and realistically could have been 3-1. Wins 4-2 and 2-1 over the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively, followed by a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres that was closer than the score indicated, yielded some really nice performances from the Senators.
So, let’s get down to it. Here are the Ottawa Senators’ Three Stars of Week 7:
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau: No surprise here. Despite a “so-so” performance against the Sabres, Pageau has been unquestionably Ottawa’s best player to start the new campaign. His hat trick against the Devils single-handedly willed Ottawa to a come-from-behind victory, and his solid play in both ends of the ice is standing out. He also appears to be developing some chemistry with linemates Nick Paul and Connor Brown, as they were the Sens’ best line through the past seven days. With 15 points through the season’s first 20 games, Pageau is red-hot.
2. Tyler Ennis: This is, admittedly, not an entrant I thought I would ever be naming in our Three Stars segment, save for perhaps the “Trending Down” section. Ennis’ critics have been vocal, and have included myself, but he had a really good week. He scored the winner against Philadelphia, tied the game in Buffalo before Jack Eichel took over once again, and has been beginning to show some signs of life. With four points in his past five games, and goals in two straight, let’s hope Tyler Ennis can keep up this pace, and pump that trade value higher.
3. Anthony Duclair: The Duke of Goalsbury didn’t quite match the offensive contributions of his aforementioned teammates, but he had a nice week on the ice for the Sens. Truthfully, if Logan Brown had been healthy all week, this likely would have comprised all three members of the 7-21-10 line. They looked great together, but Duclair gets the nod for his slick one-timer against the Sabres. With him beginning to settle in as an Ottawa Senator, the young forward looks like he might finally be finding his game, after what was a tumultuous start to his career. His skating, and offensive instincts are a treat to watch, and I hope we see more of that line going forward.
Trending Up: Logan Brown looked like he needed the New Jersey game to get readjusted, but he was lights out in the Sabres game. Brown was all over the puck, hounding the Sabres every chance he got, and his play in the offensive zone generated plenty of chances for the Senators. His feed to Duclair for the powerplay goal is considered a sexual act in some parts of the world, I’m sure. Long story short, I really love what I’m seeing from Brown. If he stays healthy, and continues on this trajectory, we may have a special player here.
Trending Down: Bobby Ryan is pointless in his last seven games, despite being reinserted into the Senators lineup. He played a decent physical game this week, but he hasn’t been able to generate much of anything offensively. His icetime has been on the low end as well, playing only 8:27mins against the Flyers. It wouldn’t be wise to expect any real improvement out of Ryan, and with even a shred of production nowhere to be found, I would expect this to be Ryan’s last season in Ottawa.
Who to Watch: Of the Senators that have played all 20 games this season, Dylan DeMelo has the highest Corsi rating on the team, with a stellar 53.71% rating. This is even more astounding when you consider that ‘Melo has been playing with Mark Borowiecki for the bulk of the campaign. It seems to me that a lot of Boro’s recent improvement can be attributed to DeMelo as well. He only has two points on the year, but keep an eye on his play the next couple games.