Senators Ups and Downs: Week Eight

The team turned in a mixed bag this week. They held on to beat the Kings 3-2 before putting together back-to-back 2-1 losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. However, they followed that up with a solid 3-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Consistency remains the watchword in Ottawa. The team has gotten very little of it this season. However, there were good signs in the loss to the Penguins and they seemed to be built on against Toronto. It will be interesting to see if the team turns a corner and puts together another winning streak.

Biggest Gains: Alex Kovalev
The enigmatic one bagged his 1000th point on Monday and showed sublime chemistry with Mike Fisher in the team's Saturday victory, giving him five points in this week's four games. It's worth noting that whether it's been Peter Regin and Jason Spezza or Milan Michalek and Mike Fisher, Kovalev's line has been Ottawa's biggest scoring threat recently.

Biggest Losses: Erik Karlsson
His penalty-prone ways from last week finally caught up with him, as head coach Cory Clouston used the flu as an excuse to bench Karlsson for two games. Clearly unhappy with the trip to timeout, Karlsson said all the right things, but promptly committed the penalty that allowed Pittsburgh to tie the game.

Goalies Trend Notes
Brian Elliott Shutouts get green arrows, regardless of how easy or difficult they were to obtain. If Elliott could play consistently, there'd be no question who the team's starter should be.
Pascal Leclaire Played well (.939 save percent) in two losses this week. The team only scored one goal in each of those games, and as Darren points out, are providing Leclaire with an average of 1.55 goals in the games he starts. With support like that, it's not hard to believe he only has one win on the year, which also came this week against Los Angeles.

Filip Kuba Despite putting up no points this week, Kuba was a plus three and averaged just under 23 minutes of ice time. He seems to be finding his game after testing his leg for the past few weeks. This is extremely encouraging given the state of Ottawa's defense.
Chris Phillips I don't even know what to write here anymore. Easily this year's biggest disappointment, it's time to stop wondering when Phillips will turn his year around and start wondering if he'll turn his year around.
Sergei Gonchar A quiet week for Gonchar, but his team-leading 10th assist ties him for second in points on the team with 14. He's exactly as advertised, and no one should be complaining over his signing at this point.
Brian Lee

Still scratched. More on this tomorrow.

Erik Karlsson See "Biggest Losses."
Chris Campoli You have to wonder if Campoli could do more with more minutes, but the reality is that he's probably just a really capable third-pairing type of player.
Matt Carkner Silver Sevens poster Caden wonders if Carkner hasn't earned more playing time, especially with Phillips struggling. Not sure I agree, but the question needs to at least be asked.
David Hale Played against Pittsburgh in place of Carkner, but was unspectacular. Like you expected anything else.

Jason Spezza Spezza is probably the happiest person to see the newly-formed Michalek-Fisher-Kovalev line scoring. Now it's his line's turn to step up.
Alex Kovalev See "Biggest Gains."
Daniel Alfredsson Alfie's three-game pointless streak has us speculating that he may be playing through an injury.
Milan Michalek Found his chemistry with Fisher once Kovalev was added to the mix.
Mike Fisher Maybe it's Kovalev or maybe he's just getting healthier, but Fisher's last two games have been a marked improvement.
Nick Foligno It may be time to talk about trading Foligno, especially when people are starting to throw the name Bill Muckalt around.
Chris Kelly Played decoy left wing with Spezza and Alfredsson for a game, but that didn't work out so well.
Chris Neil Went to town on Kevin Westgarth with his fists, which energized the team enough for them to win a game they should have lost.
Jarkko Ruutu Send out the search parties. Pointless streak ran to 16 games before recording an assist against Pittsburgh.
Peter Regin Needs to simplify his game a little bit, and the points will start to come.
Jesse Winchester Is there a player doing more with his minutes on this team than Jesse Winchester?
Ryan Shannon Raise effort level, score goal. Doesn't sound too hard, does it?

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