What a difference a week makes. Last week we were all crying doom and gloom in the midst of an awful losing streak. The team still lost to the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but then the Senators put up back-to-back wins over the Rangers and then the Canadiens, the latter during the NHL’s marquee 100 Classic outdoor game. As such, there are actually stars to talk about this week:
- Bobby Ryan. He put up three points this week, including goals in two games straight. He looks faster, smarter, and more comfortable with Matt Duchene. Seeing him re-discover his scoring ability makes me hopeful we’ll see more of this.
- Erik Karlsson. He put up two more points this week, and was a force against the Habs. He played almost 33 minutes during the outdoor game, dominating every time he was on the ice, and also having a lot of fun. We’ve also found out he’s having a son, and he seems pretty excited:
3. Cody Ceci. I know I’ve harped on him, and he still seems scared whenever he gets the puck in his own zone, but he scored two goals this week, both with great offensive plays. I actually normally like Ceci once he crosses centre, and as long as he’s put in positions like that to succeed (à la Justin Schultz), I think he’d be a fine player. Nice to see the offence come for this guy once seen as an offensive stud.
- Craig Anderson was instrumental in Saturday’s shutout. This team will only go as far as Karl and Andy carry them, so it’s nice to see him have a dominant game when up against Carey Price at his world-beating best
- Matt Duchene somehow only had one point on the week, but deserved several more. His assist was on a great read, drawing three defenders, then dishing to Ceci in the slot. He looked great with Ryan, and was giving the Habs’ defenders fits. If he keeps playing like this, I’ll have no complaints.
- Smith-Pageau-Pyatt looked like the checking line Guy Boucher wants. They actually did pretty well at shutting down opposing offences, and were dangerous on the counter-attack. That’s what I want to see from my third line, and I hope the coach does too. Also, 13% of Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s 61 career goals (regular season and playoffs combined) have come against Montreal./
- Alexandre Burrows played under nine minutes in both games he played this week, and was a healthy scratch against the Rangers.
- Ben Harpur was returned to the AHL after Thomas Chabot seemed to have proven he deserved a spot in the lineup/
Who to Watch For
I always struggle with this section, since it’s so subjective, but I’d say watch for Chabot. We know his offensive ability, and after some good performances he’s quieted down a bit. I expect he’ll get something going again this week, especially with the team knowing they can win two games in a row.