***Important Note: Due to the site’s blackout yesterday, this week’s Three Stars has been pushed to Tuesday, and will not cover yesterday’s win against the Buffalo Sabres. Any stats in this article are accurate as of before Monday’s game. —freshprinceof4thline***
It was a rough week for the Ottawa Senators, at least in terms of players staying healthy. Regardless of how many chances the team allowed in their four games, going 1-1-2 on the week without Nikita Zaitsev, Dylan DeMelo, Christian Wolanin and Ron Hainsey in the lineup is quite commendable. Many players found their way onto the scoresheet; let’s see who separated themselves from the pack this week.
First Star: Anthony Duclair
There’s just no stopping Anthony Duclair right now; he seems to score every time he gets the puck in a dangerous area. In addition to two assists, he added three more goals for a total of 21 on the season, a new career-high. He’s as versatile and sharp as a Swiss army knife, contributing in every situation imaginable; even-strength, power-play, penalty kill, you name it. Wonder how he’ll look playing with Quinton Byfield next season.
Second Star: Tyler Ennis
After a slow start to the season, Ennis has really turned up the heat with 10 goals and 10 assists in his last 28 games. This week in four games, he tallied two goals and three assists, including this play showcasing some really good hands in tight:
Sometimes you just need a greasy one. Great work by Tyler Ennis to get the #Sens on the board.— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) December 22, 2019
With an assist on the goal, Andreas Englund now has his first career NHL point. pic.twitter.com/Hl126dd940
With his strong production and low cap hit, he is likely to bring back some decent draft capital if the Senators decide to move him, however I’m warming up to the idea of bringing him back on another 1-year deal at a modest raise. He’ll be needed on the power-play next year with the uncertainty surrounding our forward prospects, and is likely to be cheaper and less of a risk than say, Vladislav Namestnikov.
Third Star: Mark Borowiecki
Boro’s got points. Lots of points. 14 points in 37 games, to be exact. That’s more points than he’s scored in any other full season. This season’s not even half-over yet. He continued his run of unparalleled success with two goals and two assists, and logged a season-high 24:21 against the Flyers as a result of numerous injuries to defensemen on the big club. This level of offence is not sustainable and Boro shouldn’t be paid based on it. However, he’s proven that he’s willing to alter his playing style to fit D.J. Smith’s high-energy system; he looks faster, better with the puck and more offensively inclined than ever before.
Trending Up: Marcus Hogberg
I implore you to take Hogberg’s .896 save percentage with a grain of salt. Considering the quality of defensemen playing in front of him this week, you have to at least be somewhat impressed with his body of work, stopping 103 of the 115 shots he faced in three starts. He was absolutely brilliant against the Flyers during OT, as he made numerous game-saving stops. If he keeps up his level of play, he should be the backup to Anders Nilsson next season. Where he’ll go from there, nobody knows.
Trending Down: Nick Paul
Paul’s overall numbers aren’t half bad for a bottom-six winger, and that may distract people from the fact that not only was he one of the only skaters that went pointless this week, he has only one point (a goal) in his last nineteen games. He hasn’t looked bad by any means, but he stands out as the coldest player on the team right now.
Who to Watch: Colin White
White finally broke his eighteen-game goalscoring drought against Nashville, and added an assist against Philly. Supposedly his lack of production has been a result of a lack of confidence as well as having some trouble staying 100% healthy. I’d keep an eye on White these next few games to see if he can string together some strong performances. We ought to wait for another year before we begin to worry about his contract.
- Scott Sabourin was set to return against the Sabres from a concussion suffered on Nov. 2nd against the Bruins, but he came down with the flu(!) so he won’t be playing until after the holidays.
- Dylan DeMelo (broken finger), Anders Nilsson (concussion), and Christian Wolanin (torn labrum) remain out of the lineup. Nilsson should good to go after the break.
- Nikita Zaitsev suffered a lower-body injury after blocking a shot against the Blue Jackets last week, and is expected to be back in the lineup in 1-3 weeks, based on the initial report.
- Ron Hainsey is day-to-day with what Bruce Garrioch referred to as a knee injury, suffered against the Predators. D.J. Smith believes he’ll be back in the lineup on Sunday.
- Craig Anderson returned to the lineup to back up Hogberg against the Flyers, and played against Buffalo yesterday. How’d he do? That's for next week!