Senators ups and downs: Week seven

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

The Senators had a very successful trip to Western Canada this week, beating the Calgary Flames 3-1 and the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 before finally losing to the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in overtime on Sunday. It's worth noting that Edmonton won their next game 9-2 over Chicago, so for Ottawa to put together a win against such an explosive team is encouraging.

Still, it wasn't all milk and honey this week. That's why this feature is called ups and downs. Let's look at who deserves what.

Biggest Gains: Bobby Butler
With three points (2G, 1A) in three games, Butler finally showed up for the 2011-12 season. Both of his goals came against Calgary, and he notched the lone assist on Jesse Winchester's goal against Edmonton. Though he was held off the scoresheet against Vancouver, Butler also produced some quality scoring chances in that game as well. It's too early to say The Bust has turned his season around, but his play this week is certainly a promising sign.

Biggest Losses: Stephane Da Costa
On the other end of the spectrum this week was Da Costa. He was largely invisible for long stretches of games (against Vancouver it was because he was benched for a long stretch) which is generally not how you want to describe your second line center. His putrescence on faceoffs was staggering, as he went 3-for-25 in three games. While he started the season hot, it's become clear that he's overwhelmed in the role he's being asked to play. It's not a matter of talent; it's a matter of readiness, and he is a player that simply does not look ready.

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Anderson's save percentages in his two wins this week: .974 and .917. When he plays like that, he gives his team a chance to win.
Alex Auld Called into duty unexpectedly on Sunday when Anderson wasn't feeling healthy enough to go, Auld stole a point against a team many have picked to win the Cup. Not only that, but he only let in two goals, and both came as the result of deflections. That's the kind of performance you want from your backup.

Jared Cowen Sometimes we wish he would do something interesting. Blossoming into a high quality defenseman is so boring to write about.
Sergei Gonchar Gonchar is on a five-game points streak, and was plus-2 on the week.
Erik Karlsson Karlsson's own point streak came to an end on Sunday, but he still had two assists and a plus-2 rating for the week. He is good.
Filip Kuba Did you know: Kuba leads the team in blocked shots (by 10!) and plus/minus? On Sunday, he blocked a shot with his wrist and didn't even need surgery.
Brian Lee While unremarkable, Lee has played well enough to keep Rundblad out of the lineup. That's pretty impressive.
Chris Phillps Speaking of unremarkable... Just kidding! Phillips actually had an assist this week.
David Rundblad Remains a healthy scratch.
Matt Carkner Currently injured.

Daniel Alfredsson Scored a goal against Calgary and scored an own-goal against Calgary. Doesn't have the talent at age 39 to carry Da Costa.
Bobby Butler See "Biggest gains."
Erik Condra Rode Butler's coattails to a plus-3 rating this week. Valuable penalty killer.
Stephane Da Costa See "Biggest losses."
Kaspars Daugavins Is it just us, or has Ottawa's penalty kill looked much better since Daugavins started playing minutes on it?
Nick Foligno Followed up his hot streak with a cold streak: Just one assist in his last three games.
Colin Greening Two-game goal-scoring streak for Soylent now.
Zenon Konopka Scored a goal this week. Both of his goals have come in games where he hasn't fought. We're not sayin', we're just sayin'. Also went 10-for-12 on faceoffs, which is just slightly better than Da Costa on the week.
Milan Michalek A goal and an assist against Edmonton. We adore the way Michalek is playing now, which seems to consist of skating towards the net in a straight line as fast as humanly possible.
Chris Neil Sidelined by an ankle injury. The team misses him a lot.
Peter Regin Out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Zack Smith Notched an assist but not much else this week.
Jason Spezza Spezza only (ha!) had three assists this week, but we're not sure any other player had more scoring chances on the week.
Jesse Winchester A two-point (1G, 1A) week from a fourth liner who also kills penalties is an easy green arrow.

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