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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 5

The latest edition of our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals ups and downs.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Your weekly look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby Delivered a streak-snapping 38-for-40 performance in Chicago after dropping an overtime decision to Calgary earlier in the week in which he wasn't at his best. Holtby has had a rough start to the season, but if and when he gets on track, the Caps should be in pretty good shape.
Justin Peters Beat his former team on Saturday night to give the Caps a four-point weekend, but that win came almost in spite of Peters' play, as he yielded a soft game-tying tally, and a questionable goal earlier in the night. In his last three appearances, Peters has stopped just 78 of the 90 shots he's faced (.867) and a goals against average that's just a tick under four. He's simply not giving the team quality minutes right now.
Karl Alzner Snapped a streak of his own on Saturday night with his first shot on goal in seven games, and earned a secondary assist on the game-winner in Chicago.
John Carlson Continues to rack up the points with three assists on the week (all at even-strength) and is now tied for fifth among NHL defenders in points and assists. Carlson was also on the ice for just one even-strength goal-against (and four -for), a tradeoff the Caps will gladly take from their top tough-minutes blueliner.
John Erskine On the mend, which rhymes with end, and yeah.
Mike Green Picked up his first point of the week at the last second - literally - with an assist on the Saturday night overtime marker, capping an otherwise down week that started with a minus-four against the Flames.
Jack Hillen Ready, willing and able... or at least two of those three.
Matt Niskanen Had a pair of primary assists in the final minute of the second period against the Blackhawks and a fairly solid week otherwise, his role in the game-losing goal against the Flames notwithstanding.
Dmitry Orlov Getting closer to a return, and that's nothing but good news... unless you're Nate Schmidt, perhaps.
Brooks Orpik Paired with Green against Calgary and given easier minutes, but the results weren't particularly good, so it was back with Carlson playing toughs in Chitown... where the results weren't particularly good. Orpik has now been on the ice for exactly half of the goals the Caps have surrendered on the campaign (20 of 40), 13 of which have come at even-strength.
Nate Schmidt Schmidt has hit a bit of a rough patch, but he and Green have been a good pair so far, so let's call it an off week and move on. Oh, and Schmidt is somehow still looking for his first point of the season (despite a high on-ice shooting percentage), which puts him among the League leaders in minutes played without a point, so there's that.
Nicklas Backstrom Had a goal and an assist in a losing effort against Calgary, nothing in the Chicago win and then the overtime winner against the 'Canes. It's easy to take for granted how dependable Backstrom is, playing in all situations and producing at a high level by just about any metric... so don't.
Jay Beagle Potted his first goal of the year on Saturday (banking it in off of Carolina netminder Anton Khudobin from below the goal line) and got a sweater for all three games this week... for some reason. He's not taking many face-offs, doing poorly on the penalty kill, and not bringing much of anything to the party at fives. Barry Trotz has better options but chooses not to use them.
Troy Brouwer Got some of that luck the Caps have been missing to open the scoring against the Hurricanes, Brouwer's fourth goal in the last six games. In the week's other two games, Brouwer failed to register a shot on goal, the first time he's been blanked there this season and the first time he was held shotless in consecutive games since last January.
Andre Burakovsky Brought the gorgeous with his goal against the 'Hawks (and added an assist in that one), his only goal in the last ten games. You'd think that some consistency in linemates would help a young player like Burakovsky (and, indeed, he's been at his best alongside Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer), but he's bounced around a bit.
Jason Chimera Has gone nine games without a goal and has just the one on the season, to go with his lone assist, earned on the first of this month. That's... a drop-off in production for a guy who had 42 points a season ago.
Eric Fehr
Question Mark Icon
Who knows? Fehr has scored in two of his last three games... but there were a pair of healthy scratches mixed in there before he drew back in on Saturday night. His underlying numbers continue to be strong, and he's producing when he's playing lately, so whether you're a fan or process or results, Fehr would appear to be doing the things he'd need to do to stay in the lineup (well, other than having his pocket picked by Jeff Skinner)... and yet, Jay Beagle.
Marcus Johansson The MoJo Renaissance continued this week with a (lucky) goal against the Flames, one-and-one against the 'Hawks, and his first four-shot game since April against the 'Canes.
Evgeny Kuznetsov A pair of pointless games sandwiched a healthy scratch for the struggling second-year center. Here's a thought: skilled linemates.
Brooks Laich Returned to the lineup against Chicago (a boon to the penalty kill) but was back in the press box a night later and is back to day-to-day, which might well be a good new nickname for him.
Michael Latta Seven games and counting since his last point, but what Latta is doing is proving himself a legitimate fourth-liner, posting strong possession numbers and bringing some sandpaper to the lineup.
Liam O'Brien Played the week's first two games and watched the third - such is the life of a fringe NHLer.
Alex Ovechkin Became the franchise's all-time leading scorer with an assist on Tuesday (and added another couple over the rest of the week), but now has just one goal in his last ten games. Worry status: not very.
Aaron Volpatti When healthy, a) will Volpatti play, and b) if so, why?
Joel Ward Had a three-game goal-scoring streak snapped on Saturday, but Ward has picked up where his career-best 2013-14 left off... and improved upon it. His seven goals lead the Caps (one ahead of Ovechkin and Johansson) and his 28% shooting efficiency is second in the League among player with at least five goals.
Tom Wilson Had an assist against the Flames (and nearly won that game at the buzzer) and displayed muscle and snarl on the top line in Chicago before leaving Saturday night's game early with a lower-body injury (not related to his ankle issues of this past summer). Hope for the best.