Senators ups and downs: Playoff edition

(Ups and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Ottawa Senators during the past week.)

The Senators took away a road split with the top seed in the Eastern Conference. That's not too bad. Also, some other stuff happened, but you probably didn't hear about it. So, the team heads home with the confidence that they're not going quietly. If they're going to maintain the momentum, they'll need the support of the crowd. Madison Square Garden was loud--will ScotiaBank Place be?

Biggest gains: Zenon Konopka
Konopka has not been well-liked on this blog this season; many felt his poor skating and decisions to fight at inopportune times were not a good fit with the Senators' puck-possession game. But the playoffs are a different beast, where faceoffs matter and sometimes the only way to start a play is to win a battle on the boards, and in game two, Konopka was outstanding in both areas. It's no coincidence that he had the primary assist on Foligno's late game-tying goal. The Senators would be down 2-0 without Konopka's play in game two.

Biggest losses: Jared Cowen
We believed he was rounding into form heading into the playoffs, but he looked jittery in game one, posting a minus-3 in a 4-2 loss. Cowen's megabomb led to the game-winning goal in overtime during game two, but the team doesn't have the luxury of jittery play in the playoffs--they don't have the firepower for anyone to under-perform. Cowen's play improved in game two, but that needs to continue for the Senators to have any chance in the remainder of the series.

(read on for the full rundown...)

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Was shaky in game one, and let in a soft first goal in game two, but played well enough for the win.
Ben Bishop Hasn't played.
Matt Carkner Did his job in 30 seconds of ice time, we suppose. Hopefully the suspension is worth it--he's not going to be able to pull the same stunt again if the Senators need a lift.
Jared Cowen See "Biggest losses."
Sergei Gonchar Just not good enough. It's a physical series and he's shying away from contact.
Matt Gilroy Played well in game one; was only scratched for Carkner's punching power.
Erik Karlsson Was neutralized in game one and went absolutely berserk in game two: scored a goal and took about 30 shots. And led the team with five hits. You hear that, Gonchar?
Filip Kuba Has been the victim of some interesting interpretations of the rule book.
Chris Phillips No problems here.
Daniel Alfredsson Was leading the way before a Carl Hagelin elbow took him out. May not play in game three.
Bobby Butler Scratched.
Erik Condra Not being asked to do more than kill penalties, but he's doing it well.
Kaspars Daugavins Didn't add anything in game one; wasn't missed in game two.
Nick Foligno Probably the biggest gainer outside of Konopka. Foligno game to play, with 2P (1G, 1A) in two games.
Colin Greening Six hits in game one, just one in game two.
Rob Klinkhammer Scratched.
Zenon Konopka See "Biggest gains."
Milan Michalek Had an assist in game one; this apparently makes him invisible...unless you watch the game.
Chris Neil We wanted to see Neil traded earlier in the year, then the playoffs started and we remembered why he needs to be on this team.
Jim O'Brien A goal would have been nice.
Zack Smith A brutal game one was followed by a strong game two: He was second on the team with five shots on goal.
Jason Spezza Too much dangle for our taste. This isn't a series where his creativity is going to have many open outlets, and he needs to adjust.
Kyle Turris Two points, both assists, in two games has him tied for the team scoring lead with Foligno.
Jesse Winchester Hasn't been outstanding, but not many of the bottom six have.

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