Senators ups and downs: Week Three

Ups and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Senators for the past week. Weeks one and two were missed because I was lazy.

Ottawa fared well during their homestand this week. After getting destroyed by Philadelphia, 7-2, they bounced back with a solid effort in a 4-1 win over Winnipeg and an astonishing comeback with two goals in the final 30 seconds to shock Columbus.

There are some positives to take away from that, but it's important to remember that the Jets and Blue Jackets aren't exactly top-tier opponents. Still, you get two points for a win no matter how good your opponent is or how you beat them, so staring into the abyss of a long season, we should try to focus on the positives.

Biggest Gains: Jason Spezza
Spezza finished last year on a blazing hot streak and has not slowed down to start this year despite playing with completely different wingers. His seven points (3G, 4A) this week vaulted him into contention for the NHL scoring lead and earned him the second star of the week from the NHL. His faceoff win percentage of 55.6% is nothing to scoff at, either. He is doing what is asked of him in just about every area we can think of.

Biggest Losses: Peter Regin
it's tough to write this, because we never want to give out a loss for an injury--but that's exactly what happened to Regin. Suffering from a cross-check to the same shoulder that required surgery this offseason and which he injured in the preseason, Regin is out indefinitely. It's terrible news for a player trying to make an impression with a new coach while two other players, namely Mika Zibanejad and Stephane Da Costa are trying to take his job.

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Anderson was shelled in relief of Auld against Philly, then very solid in a win against Winnipeg, and then fairly shaky against Columbus. Looks like he's still trying to find his focus for the year.
Alex Auld Was absolutely destroyed by Philadelphia in his only start of the week. Four goals on six shots is never a good stat, but when half of them were completely stoppable, that's a short path to a red arrow.

Jared Cowen Probably deserves a green arrow, but we can't bring ourselves to give him one just yet. He needs to do a little more than just be steady in his own zone for that--not that defensive steadiness isn't an ideal trait to see in your rookie defensemen.
Sergei Gonchar Gonchar did not play in the disaster against the Flyers due to a foot bruise, and after his return, the team's power play went 3-for-6 on the week after looking awful. Not hard to figure out the difference maker.
Erik Karlsson Karlsson only managed three points (1G, 2A) in three games this week, which, believe it or not, means he's starting to cool off.
Filip Kuba So, Kuba had a goal (giving him two to Karlsson's one) and is second on the team with 10 blocked shots. He's never going to blow a guy up, but Kuba has been Ottawa's best all-around defenseman this year, and his pairing with Karlsson has been extremely successful so far.
Brian Lee Chilling in the press box eating Double Downs through no fault of his own.
Chris Phillps Spoke up in a closed-door meeting after the loss to the Flyers. Backed it up with his play the rest of the week. Is a major reason for Rundblad's continuing improvement.
David Rundblad While he is showing some improvement every game, at this point, it's fair to say he's been Ottawa's worst defenseman this week. Keeping in that perspective, he hasn't been terrible at all, but the others are making an impact, and he's not. Yet.
Matt Carkner Currently injured.

Daniel Alfredsson Strong contender for biggest gainer. Both of Ottawa's wins came on the back of Alfie's work. That's not hyperbole
Erik Condra Still finding his role, but his repeated set ups for Z. Smith (one shorthanded, one on a cycle) are encouraging. Could be a solid third line player under head coach Paul MacLean.
Stephane Da Costa Seeing fourth line minutes after a really hot start to the season. Learning the hard way that consistency is the key to success in the NHL.
Nick Foligno Has the look of a power forward once again. Fool me once...
Colin Greening Currently benefitting from playing with Spezza and Michalek. Not trying to do too much, which is usually the key to success when playing with skill players.
Zenon Konopka We're still not really sure what Konopka is adding to this team. His fights don't seem to give the team energy and his faceoff wins haven't generated offense or prevented scoring chances.
Milan Michalek Ottawa's goal-scoring leader, Michalek is white-hot, with five points (3G, 2A) in his last two games.
Chris Neil Despite taking a terrible penalty for shoving an official late against Columbus, there's no doubt that Neil is the heart of this team. They respond when he goads them on.
Peter Regin See "Biggest losses."
Zack Smith Has the look of a good third line center, but the stupid penalties need to stop sooner rather than later, because he's not going to score enough to offset them, and he's a valuable penalty killer.
Jason Spezza
See "Biggest gains."
Jesse Winchester Keeping Konopka off the ice.
Mika Zibanejad The points have not come easily for Ottawa's top pick. He has improved since being returned to center, but gave way to Z. Smith on the second line in the last game. That's not a ringing endorsement of his play so far.

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