Our Three Stars of Week 3: Anders Nilsson, Connor Brown, Jean-Gabriel Pageau
The backup goalie is taking over.
The Ottawa Senators picked up a measly one point in three games this week, with one of their losses coming against the struggling Minnesota Wild. The Sens are now last in the league after Minnesota’s win yesterday, and given how this season’s been going so far, there may be no turning back from 31st.
However, there were still some solid individual performances worth highlighting.
- Anders Nilsson — He only needed one game to reach #1 on this list, as despite the loss, he was spectacular against the Vegas Golden Knights. The defence wasn’t helping him in the slightest as he faced 54 shots, although he stopped 52 of them, as well as 2/5 in the shootout. With Craig Anderson already struggling out of the gate, it only feels like a matter of time before Nilsson will be given more starts.
- Connor Brown — Although he was average in two of his games this week, Brown’s peak performance came against the Golden Knights, where he netted two assists and five shots on goal. His 23:22 played that night was also higher than any other Sens forward all week, with over two minutes on both the power play and penalty kill. With D.J. Smith blending the forward lines every game this week, Brown was a player he consistently went back to. Maybe it’s due to their familiarity in Toronto, but Brown has certainly found a spot in the Sens’ top six.
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Pageau makes this list for a similar reason to Brown. He notched a goal against the Golden Knights, and has held down the fort as a top six centre, playing 18+ minutes in every game. He generated a fair amount of individual chances for himself this week, and with nobody else on the roster showing up offensively, Pageau cracks this week’s top three.
Craig Anderson’s two games this week were not great, but it’s a step forward given how awful his first handful of starts went. Vladislav Namestnikov also continued to impress, as the newest Senator notched his third goal of the season.
Colin White wasn’t on the ice for a single goal for the Sens this week, and was badly outshot against the Golden Knights (on the ice for 8 for, 23 against). Nikita Zaitsev was also caved in against Vegas and Arizona, as he’s turning into team’s new king of shot blocking. Both players were expected to be relied upon heavily this season, but neither delivered this week.
Who to Watch:
D.J. Smith has already turned on his version of the Boucher Blender for the forwards, but it’ll be interesting to see when he’ll start experimenting with the defence. The Chabot-Zaitsev pairing hasn’t worked thus far, and Dylan DeMelo saw his minutes steadily increase throughout the week, up to 18 minutes against the Coyotes. Maybe he gets a shot with Chabot, like they were last season.