Three Stars of Week 21: Ryan, Brown, Chabot

During a busy week, one player stood above them all

Last week was probably the busiest of the entire season for the Ottawa Senators; it was certainly the most eventful. Between the trade deadline and Bobby Ryan’s emotional return, the Sens somehow managed to squeeze in four whole games. Two wins, one regulation loss, and one overtime loss was a fair reflection of the team’s play: in the face of some serious adversity, Ottawa responded with one of their best runs of sustained quality play.

First Star: Bobby Ryan

It simply could not be anyone else, not after this week. Ryan made his return to the Sens’ line-up for the first time since entering the Player Assistance Program on Tuesday in Nashville, but it was a hat-trick in his first appearance back in Ottawa that earned him this week’s honours. There wasn’t a dry eye, or a voice that wasn’t hoarse from chanting his name, in the whole building after he deposited his third goal into an empty net:

Second Star: Connor Brown

If there were questions about whether Brown would continue to be as effective without Jean-Gabriel Pageau, he set about answering them with a stellar performance this past week. The Sens’ leader in ice-time among forwards notched three goals and an assist in four games while racking up stellar on-ice shot (54.24 CF%) and expected goal (56.51 xGF%) metrics. Brown also continued to be effective in his role as the team’s primary checker against the opponent’s top line.

Third Star: Thomas Chabot

Even moreso than usual, Chabot played a tonne of minutes this week. With Dylan DeMelo traded, Mark Borowiecki injured, and DJ Smith seemingly having little faith in Andreas Englund and Christian Jaros there just wasn’t much choice. Chabot posted a goal and two assists, as well as excellent on-ice shot and chance metrics (56.07 CF% and 53.99 xGF%) in just shy of 32 (!) minutes per game. He’s  quietly almost back to break even in shots for the year and his 36 points in 66 games are nothing to sneeze it. It’s hard to imagine where this team would be without him.

The big Russian netted two goals on Saturday during regulation time then potted the winner in the shoot-out. He’s up to 15 goals on the season, and there have been moments when he’s flashed the skill the Sens were hoping to see when they traded Zack Smith. With his likely to increae thanks to Pageau’s trade, we’ll be watching to see if Anisimov can seize the opportunity.

After the DeMelo trade, Jaros figured to be one of the players that would most benefit but he never even broke 10 minutes of ice-time this week. The Sens have seen good results when he’s been on the ice, but it seems clear at this stage that DJ Smith just doesn’t trust him. Jaros will need to start changing some minds in the last part of the season if he wants to figure more prominently in the team’s plans next year.


-Mark Borowiecki remains out for the next little while, at the very least.

-Colin White and Anthony Duclair both missed games this past week, but each participated in a skate on Saturday morning. No news as of this writing, but both could very well return to the line-up this week.

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