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Three Stars of the Week: Week 18

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The week of the big UFAs

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Three games, three great efforts. The first game of the week didn’t go as one would hope, but a 5-4 effort against the Maple Leafs was both fun and impressive to watch. The remaining two games were both fantastic and heartbreaking to watch. I couldn’t have been the only one waiting for someone to pick up the puck after each of those games.

While the win against the Duck could be shrugged off as an easy opponent; the demanding win against the Jets certainly deservs praise. In two wins, the Sens outscored their opponents 9-2, and they even outshot the Maple Leafs 44-30.

Three Stars:

1) Anders Nilsson: Not only did Nilsson get his first shutout as an Ottawa Senator this week; he also made 89 saves (including 44 against the mighty Jets)! He is remarkably calm when facing pressure and is hugely entertaining to watch; his big size helps, and he knows precisely how to utilize that asset.

2) Mark Stone: If Mark Stone is going to leave us soon; he is giving one memorable goodbye. With 5 points in the last three games, he has been an absolute force on the ice. One has to wonder if his 2-goal performance against the Jets was a showcase or proof that he’d rather win with the Sens. I really can’t imagine this team without its Captain, again.

3) Matt Duchene: Another player possibly giving us a farewell performance with a 2-goal performance against the Ducks and just incredible creativity throughout all his shifts. He seems to be having fun out on the ice despite the off-ice distractions and the fact that this is another wasted season for him (for now).

Trending Up:

  • Remember that last place PK that Chris Wideman so famously mocked? Well, it has gone up from 31st place to 25th place. One prominent factor of the PK improvement is undoubtedly the return of Jean-Gabriel Pageau. While he is still warming up offensively, he doesn’t seem to have lost any of his PK magic.
  • Brady Tkachuk: while he only had 2 points in the last three games, he is starting to play up in the past few games. He remains to cause trouble to other teams every time he’s on the ice and is just great at being at the right place when needed.
  • Colin White: his return has been felt; he’s just a smooth skater and overall smart player.

Trending Down:

  • Why is Ben Harpur still on the team? He is terrible in every aspect of the game. While his size is often used to justify his spot; I have yet to be impressed by its impact on any of the games.
  • I’m hesitant on putting Ryan Dzingel on here but other than the game against the Jets; he’s been playing extremely distracted. He hasn’t had great defensive games nor has he been sharp on his passes. His game significantly improved against the Jets so let’s hope the trend continues....to maximize his trade value of course. How am I still a fan of this team?

Who to Watch

I expect more great performances from Duchene and Stone before they eventually get traded because apparently Sens fans need to be in a constant state of agony,