Senators ups and downs: Week 17

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

What goes up must come down. The Senators, who had been winning dangerously for so much of the month of January, have watched much of the luck that buoyed them to those wins evaporate. Not coincidentally, their playoff cushion has evaporated along with that luck: out of a possible six points this week, the team earned one.

The week started out promisingly, with the Senators giving the Bruins all they could handle, jumping out to a 3-1 lead before eventually losing 4-3. There was plenty of positive momentum to carry into a game against the surging New York Islanders, but the team came out flat and wound up sucking on a 2-1 OT loss despite scoring the first goal for the first time in eight games. Unfortunately, that was the momentum they carried into the next night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The result was a 5-0 hammering that should have left a bad taste at every level of the organization, from the owner on down to the fans. Things don't get any easier this week: first on tap are the red-hot St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators.

Biggest gains: Jim O'Brien
We really struggled with picking out a biggest gainer this week, which says a great deal about the players' performance as a whole. But hey, as a callup he made it onto the top line--and not out of mercy, but due to the fact that he was one of the best players on the ice. So, there's that.

Biggest losses: Jared Cowen
Cowen had what can only be described as a rookie week against all three opponents. Against the Islanders, he was responsible for both goals, as he inexplicably left his position to help his partner, Gonchar, and the goal-scorer filled the spot Cowen left vacant. He exhibited similar poor decision-making against Toronto, getting caught flat-footed more than once. This obviously means he is a mega-bust, and will never develop into a top pairing player.

(read on for the full rundown....)

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson

The game winner he gave up to Boston was a stinker, but we're not ready to blame him for the losses to New York or Toronto.
Alex Auld

At this point, he almost deserves a green arrow just for hanging on this long.
Defensemen Trend Notes
Matt Carkner

Not a good week to be a slow defenseman in Ottawa
Jared Cowen

See "Biggest losses."
Sergei Gonchar

So, you're a veteran, guaranteed Hall-of-Famer, and your rookie partner feels like he needs to come over and help you out. Write your own punchline in the comments.
Erik Karlsson

One point (a goal) in three games. Forget about the Norris talk for now.
Filip Kuba

His strong game against Boston saves him from further criticism. But just barely.
Brian Lee

Still sidelined with an injury, which is probably for the best--he can't be blamed for this week's mess
Chris Phillips

Not a good week to be a slow defenseman in Ottawa
Forwards Trend Notes
Daniel Alfredsson

He's trying to carry the team, but he just can't at age 39.
Bobby Butler

Strong candidate for "Biggest losses." Scratched for an AHL callup for two straight games.
Erik Condra

Condra is the forward that Paul MacLean has been using to try and get lines going, which says something about what the coach thinks of him.
Kaspars Daugavins

Rooster is ice cold.
Nick Foligno

One of the few Senators who seems to be giving it his all, he unfortunately doesn't have much to show for it.
Colin Greening

Had a goal against Boston, and got demoted to the third line for it, where he went minus-2 on the week.
Zenon Konopka

No points, a minus rating, and momentum-killing penalties. Not a good week for Konopka.
Milan Michalek

Just one assist in three games.
Chris Neil

Neil cares--11 hits in three games proves that--but caring doesn't win games by itself.
Jim O'Brien

See "Biggest gains."
Zack Smith

Z. Smith does Neil one better, adding a goal to his own 11 hits. Just don't say he gives a crap.
Jason Spezza

No points in three games? He might be the coldest player on the team.
Kyle Turris

Well, he managed a goal, but not much else.

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