• By: Dave Gross

SENATORS: A Week in Review – February 13-February 20, 2017

SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column 
looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators
hockey written by #OLMSports Dave Gross.

Images courtesy NHL.com

If you believe in signs, this one's a dandy for the local hockey team.

Let's face it, the Ottawa Senators have not exactly been playing stellar, full-on Guy Boucher hockey lately – you know, hockey that follows a hard-on-the-puck system with strict attention to detail.

And yet, the club continues to put up wins.

It's good karma; it's a good sign that things are alright in Central Kanata.

The locals are 3-2 out of the gate that is February. Yes, they were exposed in back-to-back shutout losses to Buffalo then St. Louis, but rebounded nicely with wins over Dallas then the New York Islanders. The two wins were certainly not oil paintings, but as the hockey adage goes, they did just enough to win.

And with the addition of their top netminder likely for the duration of the season, Ottawa's good vibrations should maintain.

Craig Anderson had not played a game since Dec. 5 as he returned home to Florida to tend to his wife in her battle with cancer. After receiving good news on that front the past month, Anderson arrived back in Ottawa, took part in a week of practice then suited up against the Islanders.

Ho-hum, a 3-0 shutout win.

Rust was clearly on holiday as the 35-year-old stood tall in net in a game the Islanders should have fared better in. New York was the stronger team but good old karma and a strong 33-save performance from Anderson was the difference.

It was a necessary win. The Eastern Conference is a tight one.

Ottawa (now in sixth spot with 64 points) and the two points lifted the team three ahead of the ninth-place Philadelphia Flyers – and the Senators have three games in hand.

Ottawa also has Boston (62 pts., 7th place) and Toronto (61 pts., 8th place) hot on their heels.

A continuation of those good vibrations might just be the tonic to fend off the chasers.

NOTES AND NOTIONS:  Ottawa's schedule is a beast this week with four games in six days . . . Circle this one: Saturday night the Sens in Toronto against the Leafs. The Buds appear to have hit a bit of a wall, going 2-2-2 in February. Watching Saturday's loss to Buffalo, you have to wonder if super-kid Auston Matthews is battling fatigue (and fatigue seems to be winning) . . . Heard this one all season: 'The NHL has become a young man's league.' Don't disagree. Matthews, Mitch Marner, Patrik Laine, Matthew Tkachuk, Sebastien Aho, Zach Werenski and Anthony Mantha (all rookies) are playing like vets, and damn they're an exciting group to watch . . . As of this posting, still waiting for that first big domino to tumble as we head to the March 1 trade deadline. Problem being, too many teams (not named Arizona or Colorado) believe they still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

Tuesday: St. Louis 6, Ottawa 0
Thursday: Ottawa 3, Dallas 2
Saturday: Ottawa 3, NY Islanders 0

Tuesday: Buffalo at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Thursday: Ottawa at New Jersey (7 pm)
Saturday: Ottawa at Toronto (7 pm)
Sunday: Winnipeg at Ottawa (5 pm)