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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 10

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 Finished the week with a record of 2-0-1, a 2.59 GAA and a .908 save percentage, but was much, much better than that over the course of the week, which included a number of sparkling stops. Among them? This beauty, one that may have been a game-changer in Saturday night's win over the Lightning.
Justin Peters Wasn't on the ice for a single goal-against all week. Sure, that may be because he wasn't on the ice, period... but still.
Karl Alzner With his assist on Thursday night, Alzner has points in two of his last four games (which for him is a ton of offensive output), and put up decent - if not stellar - underlying numbers for the week, while being on the ice for two goals-against (both at even strength).
John Carlson Added assists in each of the games this week to run his personal assist- and point-streak to four games total, and now has ten points in his last eight games - that's the highest point total for an NHL blueliner since November 28 (albeit in more games played than Kevin Shattenkirk and P.K. Subban, who each have nine over that span). He wasn't exactly stagnant in terms of offense to start the season, but his recent outburst is a big reason why he's ranked among the League's top-scoring defensemen.
John Erskine Nothing new to report other than the fact that there's nothing new to report.
Mike Green After sitting out seven straight games with an upper-body injury, Green was back in the lineup for the final two games of the week. He looked solid in his initial return, with good underlying numbers both at even strength and on the power play, but struggled just a bit on Saturday night, taking two penalties (including the one that put the Caps down two men for two minutes) and getting run around a bit in terms of posssession.
Jack Hillen Finished up a very quiet run as Mike Green's stand-in on Tuesday before returning to Healthy Scratch Land for the rest of the week...where he'll likely stay for the foreseeable future.
Matt Niskanen Scored his second goal of the year on the power play in Tampa, then added an assist against the Jackets, and now has seven points in his last ten games. That said, while his offense has picked up of late, his work at the other end of the ice has fallen off a bit - Niskanen's CF% was below 50% in both Tampa games, and was one of just two Caps to be on the ice for more goals-against than goals-for this week.
Dmitry Orlov Setback City, population: Orlov.
Brooks Orpik No one logged more shorthanded ice time this week than Orpik, who put together about eleven minutes of near-perfect penalty-killing work (including half of the extended five-on-three Saturday night), with the only blemish coming in overtime against the Jackets. Beyond that he had a strong week, with an even-strength CF% close to 50%, no minor penalties and his usual double-digit hit total.
Nate Schmidt Finished the week at just under 53% CF% at five-a-side, and picked up his third assist and point on Backstrom's first goal Saturday night. Solid this week with and without Mike Green, which is nice to see.
Nicklas Backstrom His first career regular-season hat trick Saturday night gave him five points on the week, part of a three-game stretch in which he - and the entire top line - seemed to be on a mission. Four of those five points (including all three goals) were scored at even strength, wrapping up a week in which Backstrom posted a team-high CF% of 61.2%.
Jay Beagle Relatively quiet week on the scoresheet for Beagle, whose hot hands seem to have cooled (try to hide your shock), but he did some good work overall, particularly on the penalty kill. He also continues to generate chances... including an especially memorable shorthanded two-on-one with Orpik in overtime Thursday night.
Troy Brouwer Nice rebound week for Brouwer, who picked up even-strength goals in back-to-back games (his first since the end of October) and posted the team's second-highest CF% at even strength - that's good enough to make us forget whatever that was he (and the rest of his line) was doing on Columbus's first goal on Thursday.
Andre Burakovsky Drew back into the lineup Saturday night after sitting out the last three, and proceeded to play a very quiet 8:35 - a significant chunk of which was on the power play.
Jason Chimera After putting together a couple of solid performances last week, Chimera kicked off this week with a not-great but relatively quiet game against the Lightning. He followed that up with a downright awful one against the Blue Jackets, which included an unnecessary penalty in overtime that cost the Caps the game - and led Barry Trotz to (rightfully) bench Chimera Saturday night.
Eric Fehr Had a rough run possession-wise this week, but did add a couple of goals to his season totals (including an empty-netter on Saturday that allowed us all to breathe a bit easier) and has cracked double digits in points with ten on the year.
Marcus Johansson Snapped a four-game pointless skid with a two-assist performance against the Bolts on Tuesday, then followed it up with four shots against Columbus... but hasn't been able to regain the scoring touch that got him off to a hot start to the season. For Johansson, as always, the issue continues to be consistency.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Decent possession numbers for Kuznetsov this week, and assists in back-to-back games gave him points in three straight before being held off the scoresheet against Columbus. He's now topped his offensive output from last season, albeit in ten more games, but with five points in his last eight games, perhaps he's finally finding his stride.
Brooks Laich Like the rest of his line, Laich struggled possession-wise, with a CF% above 40% in just one of the three games this week. He did score his third goal of the season Tuesday night in tampa, however, and was able to balance those even-strength struggles with some strong work on the penalty kill; no Caps' forward had more shorthanded ice time in the three games, and he was a key part of the crew that killed off nine of the ten penalties taken by the Caps this week.
Michael Latta Latta was just over 50% in faceoffs this week (10 for 19) and brought some big hits to the table... but not much else. He finished the week with a team-low 31.7% CF% at even strength, and saw his ice time adjust accordingly as the week progressed, down to his third-lowest ice time of the season on Saturday night against the Lightning.
Alex Ovechkin Remember last week, when we noted Ovechkin's un-Ovechkin-like shot totals? Well... he's back. The Caps' captain fired 37 shots on or toward the net in the three games this week, was on for eight of the 11 goals the Caps scored (including two that he scored in the week's first game against Tampa and two on which he assisted in the rematch Saturday night). Nothing like a couple of games against one of his favorite punching-bag teams to get Ovechkin back on track...
Aaron Volpatti
Hershey Kiss Icon
Sent to Hershey for an as-long-as-possible rehab assignment.
Joel Ward Picked up an assist on Laich's goal on Tuesday, but like the rest of his line Ward struggled at even strength overall, with a downright horrific CF% of just 29% at five-a-side in the win Saturday night. Just one of those weeks for a trio that has been very good overall.
Tom Wilson This was a big week for Wilson's ongoing evolution as an NHLer and as a top-line player. He picked up three assists, all of which involved him going to the net and helping to create chaos in the crease, and drew a couple of huge penalties for his team that showed his increasing ability to get under the other team's skin without dropping the gloves. Wilson now leads the team in penalties-drawn/60, and is among the League leaders in that department (>10 GP). Not a bad skill to have, particularly on a team that scores on roughly one out of every four power plays.

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

Usage Chart 12.14.14