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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 8

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

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby An up-and-down week for Holtby ended on a down note with 20 minutes of ineffective relief in Toronto on the heels of a tremendous outing against the Isles after a decent effort in the week's earlier match-up between the two teams. Obviously a 1-1-1/3.31/.893 week falls far short of the expectations Holtby has set (and just as obviously, that's not all on Holtby).
Justin Peters After Saturday night's shellacking against the Leafs, Peters has an ugly 2-3-1/3.28/.872 line, one of the worst five-on-five save percentages in the League, and hasn't stopped 89% of the shots he's faced in any of his last four appearances (and has only done it in two of seven overall). That's not quality backing-up, that's borderline (borderline?) unplayable.
Karl Alzner Pointless in his last ten, goal-less in his last 43 (with just one in his last 79), Alzner has had his struggles defensively as well. Gotta be somewhat disappointed in what Karl Alzner is nearly 400 games into his NHL career, no?
John Carlson Assisted on the Caps' last three goals of the week and posted good underlying numbers alongside Orpik... but the overlying numbers in the defensive zone weren't as pleasing to the eye - Carlson was on the ice for six of the 11 goals the Caps allowed on the week.
John Erskine Easily among the Caps' top-three currently injured defensemen. (Oh, wait, Patrick Wey is injured down in Hershey?)
Mike Green Day-to-day-to-who-knows. Get well, soon, Greenlife52.
Jack Hillen Returned to the lineup in Green's absence... but Jack Hillen ain't Mike Green.
Matt Niskanen Became the first Caps' blueliner whose surname isn't a color to register three points in a game since Dennis Wideman did it nearly three years ago when he dropped three helpers on the Isles Friday night (and ran his personal scoring streak to three games). But his underlying numbers have dropped off a bit, as he's been on the wrong side of even in Relative Corsi percentage in seven of his last nine games, including all three last week.
Steve Oleksy
Hershey Kiss Icon
Recalled as insurance on Saturday, returned to Hershey on Sunday. Hey, at least he got a trip to Toronto out of it.
Dmitry Orlov So... Dima? Hello?
Brooks Orpik Orpik was on the ice for a team-high seven goals-against last week (the Caps allowed 11, total), four of which came with the team shorthanded, and now has been on for 30 of the 63 goals scored against the Caps. That said, his possession numbers last week were actually pretty good, continuing a positive trend - in five of his last six games, Orpik has had a positive Relative Corsi percentage.
Nate Schmidt Skating alongside Jack Hillen isn't quite as awesome as skating alongside Mike Green, is it, Nathan?
Nicklas Backstrom Continues to do Nick Backstrom things, racking up five helpers last week (which gives him at least one assist in each of his last five games) which gives him eight points in his last five games, a span over which the Caps have taken 59.3% of the five-on-five shots attempted while he's been on the ice.
Jay Beagle Beagle has gone three games in-a-row with a positive Relative Corsi percentage for the first time since last March. Hooray?
Troy Brouwer Snapped an eight-game goal-less streak with a power-play marker against the Leafs, but has now gone a dozen games without an even-strength goal. Brouwer was on the ice for ten of the 20 goals scored last week (five for, five against) and continues to log minutes in all situations.
Andre Burakovsky Arguably the team's first-quarter MVP, Burakovsky has fallen on hard times and has been demoted to the fourth line. Though he responded by scoring on the power play in his first game in that role, that's his only goal in the last ten games, and he's gone eight without an assist - clearly not second-line center numbers.
Jason Chimera Not much going on in Chimeraland these days, with just one goal and one assist in his last 13 games (and two of each on the season), the team's worst Corsi-For percentage at five-on-five (even if we adjust for zone starts) and a woeful rate of on-ice shot generation. He simply shouldn't be getting as many minutes as he's getting.
Eric Fehr Five games without a point, 15 without an assist and five-in-a-row with a negative Relative Fenwick percentage at fives doesn't necessarily dovetail well with our repeated calls for him to skate top-six minutes... unless, of course, the fact that he's not being used that way is the reason for all of those bad trends.
Marcus Johansson Snapped the team's five-on-five goal drought at 154:40 late in the first period on Friday night and added an assist later to run a little streak of games with a helper to three before having it snapped on Saturday.
Evgeny Kuznetsov There's been a Kuznetsov sighting! Bumped up to the second line post-Thanksgiving, Kuznetsov responded with a goal and an assist. Kuznetsov now has five points in the five games in which he's skated more than 13:33 this season, and has 11 points in 15 career games when getting those minutes.
Brooks Laich Easing back into the lineup with fourth-line minutes on Friday and Saturday, but was on the ice for three goals-against (and none for) over the two games, the latter of which snapped the Caps' "loss-less in regulation with Laich in the lineup" streak at 5-0-2.
Michael Latta Scratched for each of last week's games and pointless in his last dozen.
Liam O'Brien Returned to the lineup on the Island, took a penalty, watched the next two games in civvies.
Alex Ovechkin Scored the Caps' only two goals on Wednesday night (both on the power play) and tallied the game-winner at even-strength on Friday, and posted the team's best five-a-side Relative Fenwick percentage for the week. When his five-on-five shooting percentage starts to climb from its current 6.57% towards something closer to his seven-year average of 9.13%, it's gonna be sweet.
Aaron Volpatti Getting closer to being a healthy scratch, rather than an injured one.
Joel Ward His empty-netter against the Isles is Ward's only point in the last four games, but positive relative possession numbers in each game last week broke a streak of four-straight games in the red (and that he was on for just one goal-against in three games reflects that).
Tom Wilson Three-straight games with a fight (27 PIMs total), two-in-a-row with a point (an assist on the game-winner Friday and then a lipstick-on-the-pig goal Saturday night) and strong possession numbers while facing top competition is probably a lot of people's exact vision of what "First-liner Tom Wilson" looks like.

Advanced stats and this week's five-on-five usage chart (below) via

Week 8 Usage Chart