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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 11: Third-Line Party

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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 Gave up just one goal against the Canadiens Saturday night, and was very good overall, but wasn't called upon to bail the guys in front of him out too often (despite again facing at least 30 shots in a game). That's good for the team, and good for him as he bounces back from a couple of less-than-stellar (for him) outings prior to the break.
Philipp Grubauer Was a big reason the Caps were able to snag two points from the Hurricanes last week, as he turned aside 31 of the 32 shots he faced to give the Caps their sixth-straight win. As good as Holtby has been this year, it's a nice bonus to have a strong backup on the team who can give him a night off every now and then.
Karl Alzner Wasn't on the ice for either of the two goals given up this week, and while he was on for the fewest high-danger scoring chances at even strength for the Caps (three) among the six blueliners, he was also on for the fewest by their opponents (six, tied with Chorney). He also finished the week with nine blocked shots, which is good... but also a little bad.
John Carlson Continues to be something of an adventure in his own zone (the 'Canes and Habs combined for 47 shot attempts and 10 high-danger scoring chances at even strength with #74 on the ice, the most of any Caps' defenseman) but he did pick up yet another assist to bring his point total up to 27 on the season.
Taylor Chorney Was on for the lone goal-against in the Habs game, but otherwise a quietly decent week for Chorney on the team's third pair.
Matt Niskanen The pointless drought has now reached 10 games (which ties his longest drought as a Cap, from last season), but he racked up seven shot attempts on the week, the most among the blueliners, so one would think - hope? - that he's due. He also had a whopping eight shot blocks against the Hurricanes, including a couple of heroic ones in the game's final two minutes
Dmitry Orlov It was his man who got loose and scored the only goal for Montreal over the weekend, but Orlov also had the lowest Corsi-against per 60 at even strength among Caps' defensemen and picked up an assist on the team's first goal against Carolina.
Brooks Orpik
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Come back, Brooks. That is all.
Nate Schmidt His first career multi-point game against the Canadiens almost makes up for the fact that he got absolutely pummeled in his own zone Monday in Raleigh.
Nicklas Backstrom
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Was held off the scoresheet in both games this week, which amazingly (and yet not that surprisingly) was the first time he's gone two straight games without a point in almost two months. It was also a rough week for him (and the whole top line) in terms of possession, as opponents had 11 more shot attempts at even strength than the Caps when Backstrom was on the ice.
Jay Beagle Assisted on the eventual game-winner in Carolina, scored the eventual game-winner against the Habs, and won 62.5% of the faceoffs he took in the two games combined. He's now got points in four of his last seven games, and seems to be on pace to at least match (if not top) his career-high totals from last year.
Andre Burakovsky Picked up an assist on Latta's goal in Raleigh by doing something he hasn't been doing enough of, shooting the puck, and finished the week with an even strength CF% right at 50%. He's not quite back to where he should be just yet, but things do seem to be improving for the kid.
Jason Chimera Chimera led all Caps this week with three points, including an insane one-on-one effort to give the team some insurance against the Habs, and put up a CF% of 55.8% at even strength, which led the team. His nine shot attempts at even strength trailed only Ovechkin's 10 on the week, and a whopping seven of those actually hit the net. He's now the team's sixth player to hit double-digits in goals, has officially surpassed his entire point total from last year, and is almost halfway to his career-high in points (42) with more than half the season to go. Holy Ice Cheetah.
Stanislav Galiev Continues to cool his heels in the press box.
Marcus Johansson Was the only Cap to be on the ice for both goals scored by the opposition this week, which is something of a dubious distinction, and got pretty beaten up possession-wise, with a team low 34.5% Corsi-for at even strength (tied with Williams). He did get an assist against the Habs, which gives him five points in his last four games.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Fired a team-high five shots and picked up his 11th goal of the season by going to the front of the net and getting a beauty of a deflection on Saturday night... which was a nice palate cleanser from a quiet outing against the 'Canes in which he had just one shot on goal (and an even-strength CF% of 22.2%).
Brooks Laich Considering the fact that the Caps gave up 64 even-strength shot attempts against Carolina on Monday night, it's pretty impressive that only eight of those went towards Grubauer while Laich was on the ice.
Michael Latta Remember last year? Well, this is not the 2014-15 version of Michael Latta, as he picked up his third goal of the season - and second in the last five games - with his nose-for-the-net tally against the 'Canes.
T.J. Oshie
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Last week's second star went ice cold this week, with no points in either game and just three shots on goal combined (which is low for someone who averages close to three per game).
Alex Ovechkin
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It's not every week that you'll see the captain block almost as many shots as he puts on net, but that's what happened this time around, as he fired four shots on opponents' nets and blocked three going the other way. No points, though, which isn't ideal... but also (as is the case with Oshie and Backstrom) isn't the biggest concern because a) his teammates are stepping up and b) it's not something likely to last.
Justin Williams
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Usually a possession wizard, Williams struggled along with the rest of his linemates to get the puck going in the right direction this week, and was the only member of the second line to be held off of the scoresheet.
Tom Wilson Saturday night was a pretty eventful night for Wilson, as he dropped the gloves (for some reason), "just" his third fight of the season, then followed up his fisticuffs with a couple of nice assists on an all-around stellar outing for the third line. He also continued his streak of perfect penalty killing, as he hasn't been on for a power-play goal-against in over two weeks (and has only been on for two all season) while averaging a little over a minute of shorthanded ice time per night.

Stats via and Hockey Analysis.