This was a strange week that produced less than stellar results on the ice for the Ottawa Senators. After the first game of the week was correctly postponed, Ottawa was left with a back-to-back against the New Jersey Devils and the Chicago Blackhawks. The first game was a hard-fought battle on an emotional night, one in which the Sens perhaps deserved better than the single point they got. The second game against Chicago did not go so well, so let's not talk about that anymore.
Onto the performances:
Biggest Gains: Milan Michalek. Milan had been a ,whipping boy despite the team's 4-1 start to the season but he got off the schneid in a big way this past weekend notching 3 points including his first goal of the year against Chicago. Alex Chiasson was a close second here, as the kid had his best stretch of the season. Michalek's probably not going to touch 30 goals again, but if he can pitch in 20 and provide a much needed boost of speed to the forecheck and backcheck, he'll be the least of the team's worries. He was good for at least that much this week.
Biggest Losses: The concept of defense. With the team off to a hot start, many had been willing to write off the massive shot totals the Sens had been giving up. It's harder to do that when the final score doesn't favour the good guys. The 45 shot conceded, in regulation time, to Chicago was a low point. Each D-man that's played had his ups and downs, but as a group they deserve an F right now.
|Craig Anderson||Anderson was absolutely outstanding against Chicago, stopping 43 of 45 shots. He's been en fuego to start the year. |
|Robin Lehner||Didn't think he played particularly poorly against New Jersey but he took the L and had a sub .900 SV%. Not bad, not great.|
|Mark Borowiecki||Another not-so-great week for the Boro-Gryba pairing. Between the two of them they rarely have eye-popping giveaways but Ottawa's been absolutely shelled when they're on the ice. At some point MacLean's going to have to think about what to do with his 3rd pairing. |
|Cody Ceci||Ceci had a solid week, and I thought he was one of the few defensemen that looked alright against Chicago. He's still got some kinks to work out in his game, but it looks like he's been putting it together in longer stretches. |
|Jared Cowen||Scratched all week again. At some point Cowen is going to draw back in, but he'll have a lot to prove when he does. |
|Eric Gryba||See above comment about Boro. Nothing glaringly bad about Gryba, but the two of them have been getting worked. |
|Erik Karlsson||Not Karlsson's best game against Chicago. He generated a ton of offense against New Jersey all on his own, but the Blackhawks successfully kept him in check for the most part.|
|Marc Methot||Injured. The debate of how much to pay him will rage on, but this porous defense to start the season can't help but up his asking price. |
|Chris Phillips||Phillips has seemed over-matched on the top pairing. It hasn't been good. |
|Patrick Wiercioch||Wiercioch took two penalties and got walked a couple of times so I completely understand if some feel he played badly. On net though, he was one of Ottawa's few positive possession player this week and his pairing with Karlsson in both games generated great offensive zone pressure. He looks like he's juggling the puck a lot, he's a weird skater but damnit he gets it done. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes out for Cowen given his low TOI but by my estimation it wouldn't be deserved. |
|Alex Chiasson||See: Biggest Gains. On more than one occasion this week Chiasson showed off the top shelf puck skills that made him the prize of the Spezza trade package.|
|Erik Condra||Played only one of the two games, flew around like a man on fire when he was on the ice but also had one of the lowest TOI of any forward. It was a very Condra game. |
|Colin Greening||Greeening also only played one of the two games, but spent some time at the start of it on the nominal second line with Mika Zibanejad. He was fairly unremarkable, but not in a bad way. Really, one of the better Greening performances of the year. |
|Mike Hoffman||The Hoff struggled this week on a line with David Legwand and Chris Neil, failing to generate much by the way of offense. He also saw a reduction of his ice time in the second game against Chicago.|
|Curtis Lazar||A healthy scratch for Lazar in the second game. Not much to say about his play in the first game. Maybe didn't merit a benching, but he didn't stand out either. |
|David Legwand||There will be a temptation to blame Legwand for the overtime goal against New Jersey, and the execution really wasn't great, but he did a number of other things very well this week. He had a couple of great chances against Chicago, in particular, but just couldn't quite bury them.|
|Clarke MacArthur||Bit of a down week for the top line, and Clarke's rating is a reflection of that. |
|Milan Michalek||See: Biggest gains. |
|Chris Neil||Has been a lot more disciplined than most anticipated, so I have to give him credit for that. He's otherwise looked very much like a 4th liner that's being sent for energy -- which is fine in small doses.|
|Bobby Ryan||Got back to the top line, perhaps in an effort to jump-start his play. Had the game-tying goal against New Jersey off a slick feed from Karlsson. The top line, however, struggled a bit against the Toews line in Chicago and Ryan had a hand in that. |
|Z. Smith||Smith continues to bounce around the line-up. Tough to know what to make of him at this point. |
|Mark Stone||Either Stone is hurt or he he's lost the coaching staff's confidence. It's a bit baffling considering his play, but he was seemingly a healthy scratch against Chicago. |
|Kyle Turris||No points and some struggles going head-to-head with the Toews line. |
|Mika Zibanejad||Looked sharp against Chicago. When MacLean was pushing for a tie late in the third, he leaned heavily on Zibanejad-Chiasson-Hoffman up front, with Karlsson-Wiercioch on the back end. This is a five man-unit I'd love to see get a big chunk of the O-Zone starts going forward, not just as a last gasp try to generate offense measure. Zibby's had his struggles, but here's to hoping these last two games were a sign he's turning the corner. |
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